How to make money with web design
In this article I am going to guide you step by step on how to make money with web design.
This occupation is never going to die. There will always be demand for web designers in the future.
This job is not easy, but it also isn’t rocket science.
In 2019, when I’m writing this, even a 10-year old could build a website if you show him just once, with knowledge of English, of course.
If anything in this tutorial doesn’t make sense to you, feel free to contact me, and I will clear things up for you.
Let’s end this introduction and start with the basics, and we will slowly move to the more advanced stuff.
What does actually web designer do?
I’m not going to go into the details yet, we’ll start with the basic, broad explanation.
As a web designer, your job consists of making websites and maintenance. You find a client, seal the deal, make a website, and you maintain its existence and functionality and charge your client monthly or annually, or whatever you agree on.
Some sites require constant updating, some you just create and check it once every month or 6 months, depending on the type of service.
Whatever the type of service you offer, the process of finding customers and doing all the technical stuff is pretty much the same.
We will talk later about every step in detail, but this is just to explain to you the core simplicity of the job.
This is certainly not the best, or the only way of doing things, but this is how I earn money right now (not the only way).
Why would you want to become a web designer?
Again, the answer is never simple, but I will try to bring closer to you the reasons to choose this profession.
First, and obvious reason, is money. We all want to make our lives easier, and the money patches a lot of holes in our life.
My business model doesn’t consist of working for a company full-time and getting fixed salary. It consists of finding your own customers and collecting 100% of the money from the deal.
If you learn this properly, you can surely get a sustainable living with much less work than regular 9-5. At first, if are a full-time worker, I suggest that you gather a lot of knowledge, work part time from home and when your side earnings are as good or better than your salary quit your job and start a full-time job at home.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Besides money, that is the main reason why you should learn how to build websites and the other stuff from this tutorial that will launch your personal online business.
The best job you can possibly have is I’m-my-own-boss and I-work-at-home job. You create your own working schedule, there is no one telling you what to do and a lot more benefits.
Let’s dive into the money part a bit closer.
How much money can you make?
It entirely depends on you. There are number of factors that determinate how much money you can make. Those are:
- The amount of time you devote to working and learning
- Ability to commit yourself to the job
- Your negotiating skills
- Your level of knowledge about how internet and computer works
- Level of knowledge about the job itself
- Your desire to learn more and improve
- To some extent your geographical location
- If you are not native speaker, than good knowledge of English is necessary
- Your age
- The amount of money you are willing to invest in learning, equipment, software…
- And a lot more factors
This is much general talking, and nothing concrete, let’s speak in numbers.
For example, you can charge your customer 100$ for a single page website at the beginning to create your portfolio. These kind of websites can be created with some basic knowledge in a day.
So you can earn 100$ a day and still learn along the way. It is possible, but finding customers is the tricky part. Those 100$ customers aren’t going to make you a living.
You want to shoot for higher-paying jobs that do require some more work, but the return on time investment is much greater.
Once you are fully established web designer, with good reputation and a lot of testimonials, you can probably earn as much as 500$ a day, by doing all the work yourself. Later we will talk about outsourcing the web design work and focusing only on finding prospects.
Generally speaking, if you are not a lawyer, or a doctor, or an astronaut, which you probably aren’t, this job can bring you much more than your regular job. Especially if you don’t live in one of the wealthier countries.
By now, you understand that this is financially wise decision, and now we will talk about the requirements to start your online business.
What do you need to make money with web design?
First of all, you need a computer/laptop and a stable internet connection. It may sound obvious, but I don’t want to skip anything.
Secondly, you need some money to start with. Theoretically you can start with nothing, convince your uncle who owns a bike shop to pay you 100 bucks to build him a website, and you have time to experiment since he isn’t going to hassle you to get his website immediately.
If this isn’t your case, then you need at least around 50$, so you can purchase hosting and the domain for one year, and exercise and experiment with different designs, features, plugins, etc.
Creating your own website first is very important, everybody should have a website.
Basic computer knowledge
Basic knowledge of how computers work is essential. You must know how to copy/paste files, create, delete, rename, drag and drop, install software, purchase online, how to use word, excel, notepad, Google, email, YouTube, create bookmarks, download and upload files, use social networks, use smartphone, transfer files to smartphone, type smoothly on your keyboard, and altogether to know how to manage your computer.
I know that some of you think that this is stupid to even mention, but some people lack basic knowledge, and I want to make sure that we are all on the same level.
Very little programming (to start)
If you do possess this fundamental knowledge, next step would be to learn some basic HTML and CSS. If you don’t know what this, it is basically code that tells your browser what elements to display and how they are going to look.
If you want to learn more, there are bunch of videos for free on YouTube, and there are also bunch of free courses on Udemy. Start with this playlist from channel thenewboston, watch all the videos and you can expand your knowledge later.
While you can get away even without any HTML and CSS knowledge, I highly recommend to you to at least watch those tutorials from thenewboston.
If you want reliable learning resource that is created by professionals, check these tutorials from Learning 24/7.
If you have any questions, about any of this, click on “contact me” and submit your question, no matter how dumb you think it is. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I will personally answer them, since I am the only one who takes care of this website.
One thing you certainly cannot skip is WordPress (I will refer to it as WP in the future). It is a gift from programming gods to people who don’t want to learn programming.
To make a simple website, that is fully functional, with old school coding, it would take you tremendous amount of time just to acquire knowledge to do it. With WP it is a child’s play.
The way WP works is that you install a theme on your website that defines it’s look, and all you have to do is add elements to the page like text, images, videos, sign-up forms, etc.
I have a tutorial on how to make a website from scratch, where you can find out how to install WP and have a website in less than 30 minutes..
Knowing how to create some cool-looking images is also very important. You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert, but knowing how to crop images, combine two or more images, adding text and other basic stuff is important.
Every website needs images to look good, so make sure to invest some time in learning how to manipulate with them.
For Windows users I recommend downloading paint.net program. It is free software from Microsoft that has some useful features to help you create images for websites.
There are also some online editing tools like Canva that has premium plan, but free plan will be just enough to create some nice looking images.
PayPal and bank account
One of the requirements for having an online business is to have a PayPal account, so you can take payments from customers. Creating one is free, simple and quick. Just go to PayPal and sign up if you don’t already have one. You should choose personal account for now, and later you can upgrade to business if you start your own company.
You also need to be over 18 to have your own bank account (I believe it is the case throughout the world), so you can withdraw money from PayPal, and to have a credit/debit card to make online payments. If you don’t than borrow one from your mom (and tell her about it, don’t spend money without your parents’ approval).
Let’s mention some non-material requirements.
First, you need to have spare time to learn about online business, creating websites, etc. If you have 5 children and work 3 jobs, there is no way you will be able to manage to find some free time. This is hardly the case, but you get the point.
I suggest that you commit yourself as much as you can, because in this case more=better. At least 2 to 3 hours a day should be just fine at the beginning.
Another big aspect of succeeding in online business, as in any sphere of life is dedication. If you think you can learn everything in a week, or a month, you are wrong. You are going to learn your entire life, and the sooner you start the better.
From my experience, I’m telling you, you will regret if you don’t start right now, and I mean as soon as you finish reading this article. Take some time from your daily schedule for education about business, and make sure to be consistent.
We will now talk about the very important part of our job, finding clients. Without the application, everything we know it is useless.
Finding quality prospects/clients
What does this image tell you? Almost half of all small businesses don’t have a website.
Only in US there are more than 30 million small businesses. That means almost 15 million potential customers in US only!
I am not saying that closing the deal is going to be easy, but you can see that the market is HUGE. You just have to figure out how to select the best prospects that will have a good chance of accepting your services.
But where to start?
If you are just starting, the best place to look is with someone you already know, a family member, a friend, friends’ parents, your neighbors, your parents’ friends, etc…
These people are more likely to accept your services, purely because of their relationship with you, and your work doesn’t have to be perfect immediately. You can experiment more to learn how the system works and they probably wouldn’t expect miracle results.
My advice would be to invest some money and give one website for free, and if necessary charge for maintenance only. But before you make a website, make sure to secure the agreement with the person you are making it for. You don’t want to create one for someone who doesn’t want it.
If you don’t have anyone of your acquaintances that need a website, then you should broaden your search to your local community. I’m certain that there are 10s or 100s of small businesses in area where you live (if you don’t live in a very remote area), that will be a great potential customers.
I suggest that you take a walk in your free time and write down on a paper, or in your phone, all the small companies that you see. Later you will filter through the results, but for now right every single one.
You don’t need a list of thousand businesses, a hundred would be just fine.
When you come to your computer, search to see which ones don’t have a website. You should have some names by now.
You can repeat this process over and over in different areas of your city.
I will talk later about how to filter the best candidates, and how to close the deal, but for now we will just talk about finding businesses without website.
We live in a beautiful day and age. You can go anywhere with just a few clicks. So why not take that opportunity to find customers?
But how do you find someone that doesn’t have a website?
Well there are several methods that people use these days, and I will list some that I know and that I have used in the past.
1. Google maps – Just pick a place in the world and zoom in to find local businesses. Then repeat steps from the phase 2.
2. Yelp – Great business directory where you can find a lot of small businesses. You just enter city and type of business and voila, thousands of potential customers.
3. Foursquare – Same as Yelp, they probably have very similar listings but you should check them out both.
4. Angie’s list – The cool thing about this site is that it only lists businesses which are providing services like plumbers, handyman, electricians, roofing, gardening, etc. Why is this important? You will find out when we talk about filtering in just a second.
5. Social networks – Many businesses have social media pages, but they don’t have a website. You can search directly on Instagram or Facebook (these are best ones) for businesses, or you can search on Google using one simple trick.
In the Google search bar enter site:instagram.com + “business type”.
This is much easier than searching on social network sites directly, and it will return results that have the type of business in their description, but that don’t have it in their page name.
There are probably more places to find local businesses, like yellow pages, government documentation, but this is the easiest way to find a bunch of potential customers.
Now that you learned how to find a lot of potential clients, let’s talk about how to choose the ones with the best chances of accepting your offer.
Filtering the list of potential customers
No matter the way you collected your leads, you have to select the ones with the highest chance of becoming your customer.
You should create a spreadsheet in Excel, or some other program, and assign attributes to each column that will help you later when you are selecting the best possible customers.
Filter no. 1 – new businesses
The easiest ones, that are very likely in a need of a website, are the new businesses, less than 6 months old. They probably had their hands full with opening a store, handling paperwork, hiring employees, local advertising, etc. If you jump in, explaining them the benefits of having a website and offering them your service, it is highly likely that they will do business with you. Some older businesses, that don’t have a website, probably have a reason for that, but they shouldn’t be neglected.
How long the business is operating should be put into one column.
Filter no. 2 – online dependability
The next criterion for targeting is what I call online dependability. Some businesses really don’t need a website. For example: small pharmacy, highly localized grocery store, hot dog stand, liquor store, etc. You must use your head a little bit to distinguish whether or not a type of business is dependent on online presence.
In this column put simple yes or no.
Filter no. 3 – is it crazy successful?
Third thing you should look for is whether business is crazy successful. If you have a pizza shop that always have 20 customers outside and don’t have a website, you are going to have a really hard time convincing them to buy your services. Your time and effort just isn’t worth it.
Also in this column simple yes or no will be just fine.
Filter no. 4 – is it unstable?
Number four – don’t work with unsuccessful businesses. If you want to be successful work with successful, that is just how thing go. You don’t want to make a website for business that is on the edge of existence. You want to form long-term relationships so that you can keep the money flowing for a long time. You can’t always predict the future, but you can do a little bit of research about the competition, sustainability, number of customers, etc. Eliminate those that have a have a high chance of closing their gates in the recent future.
In this column, you can put four values like: “no chance”, “small chance”, “big chance” and “almost certainly”.
Filter no. 5 – odds for cooperation
Number five – Try to figure out the level of difficulty to convert prospect into customer. I can’t tell you the definite metrics to use when gauging difficulty; you need to put some common sense into it. Create a scale from 1 to 5 and rate every business on this scale.
The attributes in this column should be numbers from 1-5, of course.
Filter no. 6 – SEO dependency
Number six – less SEO-dependent businesses. Maybe you know what is SEO, maybe don’t. It is one of the most complex areas of expertise for any web designer, but it is essential in the long run. I will talk later more about it, but for now I’ll just tell you that it is basically how you structure your customer’s website that it ranks better in Google or other search engine results. So what businesses are less dependent on SEO? If a person is looking someone like plumber, they are probably going to search something like this:
Do you see a problem here? There are bunch of ads, and there are local businesses, and below all of that is where the search results begin, and it is hard to rank anywhere near the top without great knowledge.
I did pick a highly competitive area like Bronx, and the chances are in some small towns that picture will be slightly different. Still getting on top of Google is a hard task, that requires great experience, and these are instructions for beginners.
What you want to do is find something like a fast food restaurant with delivery, this is my top choice. The way it works is something like this.
People who live in that city where the business is located probably know what places have good food, and it is unlikely that they will search something like “pizza delivery New Jersey”. But if they live and work there, they will probably see that the new place opened up, or they will hear from their friends about this new amazing pizza place. So they would probably know the name of the business, and they will search by its name, like “Joe’s killer pizza”.
When you create a website that is called the same, it will show up in the top of the Google search results in the matter of days after creation. It still takes some basic SEO knowledge, but nothing too complicated that you can’t learn in few days.
Now that you have this idea how the average user searches on Google, try to put yourself in his place and think of what he will input in that search box, and see if it fits of particular business that you are selecting to be your first customer, or second, or third.
The conclusion of this filter number six would be to think how the customers of that particular business would search on Google, and see if it fits the non SEO-dependent strategy.
You don’t want to create a website that won’t bring any new customers, you want to do the things the ethical way. If you have a happy customer, he will refer more customers to you in the future, so you will have to do less research on your own, and less research means more free time to do the job.
We will talk about that later in the part where you scale your business.
If you are just beginning with this business, put simple yes and no into the last column, and focus only on those which are not SEO-dependent. If you are little more advanced, then put some levels of dependency of your choice.
Your spreadsheet should look something like this:
I’m sure that it must be difficult for most of you readers to understand everything, so make sure to read this post couple times to understand better. You should bookmark this post for future reading; it is always a good thing to come back if you have any doubts.
If something is unclear or you have some suggestion, post a comment and I will try to answer your question.
All right, now that we have few good candidates, let’s talk about how to approach them and make a contact.
How to approach potential customers?
Getting in touch with business owners, or people who are responsible for running the business, can be accomplished in few different ways.
I am going to list them and explain the pros and cons of each method.
Meet them in person
This is obviously the most effective way to convert a prospect into customer, and here’s why.
People are skeptical about buying anything from someone they don’t know. When you schedule a meeting and meet them in person you can present yourself and establish a friendly base.
You can do the presentation in one meeting and close the deal immediately, or leave a good impression and let them call you when they are ready to cooperate with you.
This way of working is slower, but it has a much higher conversion rate than any other type of outreach.
In person conversation has always been, and always will be the number one method of closing deals. You should implement this strategy, if possible, to get first few customers and make some money right away.
It is a time consuming job, but definitely worth it.
It is possible to close deals over telephone, but you can see how this way is going to require a lot of cold calling, and you will have to deal with bunch of rejections.
People have developed very high trust issues when being offered anything via phone. When’s the last time you received a phone call from some agency and listened to their offer at all?
If you have the guts to withstand that much rejections, and a good telephone pitch to convince people to buy your services, than go for it. It will save you a lot of time in travelling to locations and holding your presentations.
My advice is to use the phone to pre-warm the potential customer and set up a meeting, and then close the deal at the meeting. This is usually how I do it.
This method could be beneficial for avoiding long trips to businesses, just to get rejected immediately, or to not have the conversation with the person in charge at all.
Email or social network outreach
Finding business owner email address is lot harder than finding a phone number. There is an option on Yelp, to send a message to the person that is responsible for that profile, but it is a rare case for a business to have that option and not have a website.
I prefer contacting businesses through social media. Finding their social page is much easier.
If speaking over the phone bothers you, than this can be a decent replacement.
First collect as many emails and social network pages as possible. Then put the data into a spreadsheet. Write templates of both email and social media outreach and start sending messages. You want to be as generic as possible, with some personalizing. Your message should look something like this:
You shouldn’t copy the exact words, but instead create one of your own. The similar template can be used for social media.
As you see in the image, your outreach should be constructed with this in mind:
- Create a catchy subject that will make people open email
- Show them that you appreciate their time
- Explain what you do, and how your services can benefit them
- Leave contact information to tell them how they can reach you
Maybe this is not the perfect example, but you should construct a great message that doesn’t seem like you are trying to sell something, but rather that you are trying to help them.
Like with phone calls, I like to use outreach only to find businesses which are interested, and close the deal in person.
All that I wrote until now may seem like hell of a preparation, and it is. No business is easy, so why would you think that you can achieve anything with no work at all? It takes a lot of work at start, but later it can flow much smoother, once you get the hang of it.
Your work is far from done. You still need to convince the person in charge to pay for your services. Coming next is exactly that part of this tutorial.
Closing the deal
You only get on chance to make the first impression, so make sure that you make the good one.
It takes only three seconds for someone to evaluate you when they first meet you, so your outfit should scream professional. You should wear a suit, or shirt, depends whether you live in colder or warmer climates. Bring some suitcase, or folder, and bunch of papers to look like you have a lot of work.
I don’t know a lot about ladies’ fashion, but similar principles apply here as well.
Don’t be late
Make sure to arrive at least 10 minutes earlier to feel how the business operates, and to give the impression of someone who is dedicated to work.
When you meet the person in charge, try to be yourself as much as possible. By doing this you will feel much more relaxed and the person who is talking to you may figure out that you are being someone else.
Start by saying your name, mention that you spoke or contacted earlier, and get to the point quick. You should say something like “let’s start business discussion immediately, I’m sure that you are a busy man/woman, and I also have a lot of work”
This way you will show that you respect their time and also it will give them impression that you are a busy person.
Good first impression is going to increase your chances to acquire customer, so make sure to provide a great one.
Convince them that they need a website (very important)
When the conversation about business starts, first thing you should do is present some data about websites. Tell them what percent of businesses don’t have a website, how much their business may increase, or maybe that they can shift to making majority of their money from the website.
You need to do convince them what are the benefits of having a website and I will list some posts for research.
This is just to get you started. You need to research a lot more to be able to convince people to purchase your services.
Next thing you should do is present them with downsides of not having a website. You should also use the phrase “you are losing money for not having a website” in your convincing.
Again, you need to do research on this topic as well.
Show them your work (or fake it if you must)
Next step will be to show them your portfolio. If you don’t have one just pick some random sites from similar niche and pretend that you created them. Usually nobody is going to check if you actually did it.
Make sure that those sites look good both on PC and on mobile and point to that in conversation. You can explain at this point that more than 60% of searches are conducted from mobile devices.
Also check at the bottom of the homepage if there is a name of the designer. It is rarely the case; it usually contains info about company, but check it anyway to avoid embarrassment if the person you are talking to decides to check the site by itself for some reason.
Don’t go crazy with some extremely interactive websites, choose simple ones. Present at least three of four of these sites, and start giving them options like 1-page site, 10-page site.
Be quick and decisive
If you stall too long with presentation and don’t give them the prices, they will think in themselves “how much is this going to cost me”. If you wait too long, they will become impatient and think that you are doing something sketchy.
You are not selling a 100k car, so don’t talk for 2 hours; make it quick and go straight to the point.
Being too pushy isn’t going to help you. If the person you are talking to is not ready to buy your services yet, it is better to leave in good terms and with a friendly note, than as some greasy salesman who shoved something to their face.
Leave them your contact information
Leave a business card and maybe they will call you in a month or 6 months when they do some research, or some friend advises them to get a website.
Bonus tip: practice your speech
I would advise you to prepare the entire speech and practice it over and over in front of the mirror. It may sound ridiculous, but this is how all the great speakers are doing it. This way you will see how you look to the other person and what you need to change to improve your appearance.
This is not only going to help you with this job, it will be beneficial for the rest of your life. Take a moment and think about it.
Although you have the entire conversation figured out and you know every single step of it, you need to be relaxed and let the conversation take the natural flow. Don’t be a robot!
The interviewee will ask you some questions and you need to be prepared to answer immediately. That is why preparation is crucial. You need to be able to improvise.
If they do want to cooperate with you, how much should you charge them? We will talk about that right now.
How much to charge for your services?
Web design agencies charge thousands of dollars just to create a website. As you are just starting, you are going to charge a lot lower sums for your work.
Hosting and domain
If you are serious about this business, you should buy managed hosting plan. It is much better than shared hosting, and your customers will be very satisfied. I suggest starting with 3-sites plan, and when you get more customers upgrade to unlimited plan.
If this is unfamiliar to you, check my guide on how to make a website.
You can find these plans by going to a2hosting website, choose WordPress hosting, and then managed hosting.
You can buy shared hosting, but your customers’ websites may experience some downtime, and it can be bad for your reputation. It all depends on your current financial capabilities.
Then, when you have bought your hosting, you can charge your customer about 20$ or 30$ per month for hosting, you can give them domain name for free as a gift (a great marketing strategy).
For maintenance, you can charge anything from 10$, depending on the amount of work required. If you don’t have any work, other than checking site once or twice a month, charge 10$. If you do have some work like updating content every day or every week, you need to figure out by yourself how much time it would take you and do the math.
Cost of making a website
For website creation, I would suggest something low like 50-100$ for one-page site. It is hardly achievable to make site on single page. It usually takes about 10 pages for a functional site. There is contact page, about page, different product pages, etc.
I would suggest that you don’t charge more than 200$ for creating a website with less than 10 pages. If a customer is more demanding, that means that it is willing to pay a lot more. It is up to you to measure the amount of work needed to do that.
Let’s write a common example. 10-page site, no special work, very little maintenance.
- Creating site 150$
- Hosting for a year 240$ (12×20$)
- Maintenance 120$ (12×10$)
- Together 510$
500$ isn’t much money in developed countries, and compared to agencies that charge at least 2000$ for a website, you are a great winner. Make sure to point that out in your conversation with potential customers.
If you manage to secure just 2 deals a week, you are looking at 4000$ a month salary. Not bad, ah?
It might be difficult for you right now to do this amount of work because you have a job, but start slowly and progress over time. Now you see how this can be a very profitable business.
Want to grow even more? Let’s talk about scaling your business.
How to do less work and make more money?
Well, technically it isn’t less work. What I’m talking about is focusing your work on finding and acquiring customers and letting someone else create a website for you.
Think about outsourcing
When the amount of work starts to overwhelm you, outsource some part of it to another person. If you do a great job with website creating, your customers will refer you to their friends and eventually the business will start growing by itself.
It just isn’t physically possible to do all the work by yourself. That is why I’m going to show you how to find people who will do the design work for you, and you can focus on running the business.
There is one good book that I recommend you to read, called “the 4-hour workweek” by Tim Ferriss”. When you read it you will learn how to outsource most of your work and employ people to take some weight off your shoulders. Check my top 20 books for entrepreneurs.
Go to Fiverr
Back on topic, where do you find people to help you? There are many platforms where you can find freelancers for your business. The one I use right now is called Fiverr.
Go to Fiverr and type “wordpress website”, and you will get results similar to these.
Do the research
The factors you should consider when looking these freelancers are the number of reviews, average score and price. If you dig deep enough you can find people who will make the entire website for as low as 25$.
Obviously, you get what you paid for, but sometimes you may discover some hidden gems out there. When you click on any of these offers, you will go to page like this one.
Blue rectangle shows different types of offers that have different prices, displayed in black rectangle (obviously). The green rectangle contains information about what each package contains.
Freelancers usually display their work like in this purple rectangle area, but if they don’t you can contact them and ask them to show you.
You can also contact them (red rectangle) to negotiate terms of contract, and ask them if they would be willing to work for you. You need to be logged in on Fiverr to be able to contact them, but you don’t need to create account, because you can log in with Facebook or Google account.
Selecting the right one is very tough choice. You need to do a bit of research and conversations to make final decision.
Test potential employees
When you reach the agreement, you should give them one job to test them and give them some guidelines on what theme to use, what widgets, basically how the website should look.
To test the creativity and skill of your new employee, you should point him to a website that has similar look to your site idea. Tell him that you want something like that and give him only info about company like name, address, employees, managers, work hours, etc.
If he manages by himself to make one that is good, then you are settled. If not, find another one. With Fiverr and freelancers it is always a gamble.
If you spend time to choose properly at the beginning, you will have a great asset for the future.
Make him a part of your team
In order to grant someone access to creating pages and posts, you need to create a new user on your website.
First thing is to buy a new domain and install wordpress in your cPanel. Next step is to go to your wordpress admin panel. On the left side in the menu select user and add new. You will get something like this.
You will enter email, name and password, and he/she will receive email with instructions how to log in. If you are working with experienced designers they probably know all this.
Focus on new customers
Now that you have a big portion of your work outsourced, it is time to commit to scoring some more deals. Arrange more meetings, send more emails, call more people, etc.
This is basically all that you need to know to start and grow successful online business.
Next, I’m going to tell you in what areas to improve your knowledge for even greater success and opportunities, but before we move on I’ll give you one piece of advice that just popped into my head.
As soon as you start getting clients start a company. It gives you so much reputation and it is much easier to persuade someone to buy your services if there is a company behind you. Plus you can present yourself as a CEO. Nice title.
Knowledge for the future
If you want to level up in life, you need to constantly learn new things and improve current knowledge.
Internet is changing very fast, all the time, so it is crucial that you keep gathering new knowledge.
Since most of you, who are reading this post, is new to this whole internet business I am going to list everything I can think of that will benefit you in the future.
There is no particular order in which this list is constructed. All of the items are somehow important.
WordPress and PHP
WordPress is the easiest and fastest way to create websites. Since you are probably going to create majority of your sites on WordPress, it would be a good idea to learn more about the platform.
At first you should have one website where you can experiment with different things. You can change the themes, site layout, fonts, headers, footers, menus, widgets and everything else that themes allow you to change.
This will help you to finish your work faster and make better sites.
WordPress platform is built with PHP programming language. If you want to create your own theme or modify existing themes this is something you must learn.
WordPress themes that are free are usually limited in some features that you might need. This is because theme creators are pushing you to upgrade to premium.
You can also create killer theme that you can sell to others.
HTML and CSS
Every website needs HTML and CSS so you can understand why it is important to learn about these two languages.
CSS is technically not a language, but it has some very advanced features that you can use when creating websites. Thus it takes time to learn all the required functionalities.
Some knowledge of HTML is required if you want to add custom forms, or some other custom elements to your website.
CSS knowledge will help you get out of the boundaries of your theme limits.
There are many advantages why to learn these two basic languages. I am not going to talk a lot about it here. Just trust me with this, you must learn them if you are going to be in online business world.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is very complex subject and it takes years to learn properly.
It basically means optimizing your website so that it ranks better in Google. Traffic that comes from Google is the most valuable traffic, so you must consider learning at least basics and upgrade your knowledge over time.
Here is the list of several websites that have really high quality content for learning SEO.
You can also buy this book that has everything in one place.
It is another programming language like PHP, but it is much more present on the web.
It basically makes the page interactive. With JS you can dynamically change objects on the page like dropdown menus that pop out when you click or hover over menu item or if you want to create a slideshow of images and many, many more functions.
Learning JS requires lot of reading of books and documentation and it also requires lot of practice.
It is not rocket science, but it is very close when you get into the advanced stuff.
As with SEO I suggest learning the basics first and improve over time with more education.
If you want to invest some money in JS course, check Learning 24/7.
There are tons of free resources out there where you can learn JS; starting with YouTube, then Udemy free courses. When you learn some basics you can practice solving different real-life programming problems on Codewars.
I hate repeating myself, but learning JS is essential if you want to be in online business in the future. At least basics, nobody knows everything about JS.
It can be Facebook ads, Instagram, Google, Bing, Snapchat, anything that is currently popular.
Getting free traffic from search engines or social media is fine, but it is hard to scale and it takes time.
With ads, situation changes. You can invest money and bring customers immediately.
But don’t think that running ads is easy. It requires lot of knowledge about keywords, searcher’s intent, creating high quality ad copy, what platform to use, etc.
It takes a lot of testing to see what works and what not. Ideally you want to learn about advertising from free resources like Blogs and Youtube and then run campaigns with someone else’s money to acquire more experience.
If you don’t know what you are doing, it is like throwing money into the ocean.
There are agencies which will run ad campaigns for you and keep track of the results, but unless you are spending 10 grand a month on ads, better do the job by yourself.
Every major business in the world is running ads. Why do you think that is? Do they like spending money?
No, they are bringing more customers and building brand awareness. It is a good long term strategy if you are aiming really high in life.
We are always selling something, whether we are aware of it, or not.
Let’s say you are sitting with your friends and drinking coffee. If you don’t sell your stories well, nobody is going to listen to you.
It is the same in business. I’m not necessarily talking about working in sales like life insurance, or car salesman. I’m talking about selling your service or selling your story.
It is one thing when you are sitting with friends and chatting, and another when you are trying to take money out of someone’s pocket. To some people it comes naturally, but for most of us it is hard.
That is why you have to improve your knowledge in sales to gain more confidence and to make sure that the sales process goes smoothly.
Here is one book that I’ve just read, at the time that I’m writing this post.
Just by reading this one book I went from zero knowledge about sales to someone who understands the sale process entirely.
You are going to sell for the rest of your life, so why not become better at it?
Image is worth thousand words, am I right?
In order to make money with web design, you need to have good images.
You may want to invest some time and money to learn how to use Photoshop, or you may want to create some stunning infographics or cinemagraphs.
For infographics I recommend website easel.ly that has the best offer for just 4$ a month to use their software and huge database of objects and templates that you can put into your images.
Cinemagraphs are very cool, but I don’t have any experience with them. You will have to do the research on your own.
There are lots of applications for graphic design, so learn it at some point!
I agree that this is the most boring skill that you need, but it is very crucial.
As your business grows you need to learn about investing money, calculating budget, sending invoices, paying taxes, avoiding taxes (cough, cough) and all that awful paperwork that goes with it.
When you start making million dollars per year you can hire an accountant, but until then learn about money and legal side of the business.
Someone clever saw that more and more people have purely online business that consists of one or few employees, so they came up with a program that will make their life easier. And your too.
The company is called “Fresh Books”, and they make tracking finances, sending invoices and all that stuff super simple.
You can try their software for free, and if you like it you will pay 15$ a month after that trial period. That is the cheapest plan and it is sufficient enough for most of people.
Make sure to try their software, once your business is up and running, and keep learning about finances.
Organizing and time management
When you run a successful business, that is growing, it is hard to finish all the tasks that need to be done.
Over time you are going to get to the point where you will say: “ah screw it, I can’t manage to do everything”.
It happens to everyone who is constantly pushing its limits. You are always going to have something to do, or to read, or to write, or to make, etc.
Because of this, you need learn how to better organize your daily, weekly, monthly schedule.
I’m not an expert in this area. I’m quite the opposite. I do what I want, when I want. But I do work hard and much. I have plans to make myself better at this, but not right now.
There is one thing that I do to keep track of things that need to be done. I have a white board with tasks to complete. You should get one for yourself too.
Keep working on time management and organization and you will get better as time goes.
The best way to keep your money safe from IRS scavengers is to invest.
If you don’t invest your money the government will take their cut at the end of the year.
I’m not talking about buying cars, clothes, jewelry or other commodities. I’m talking about investing in your business or another business.
One way you can invest is by hiring more people, or if you don’t need more employees you can invest in advertising.
Consider investing in some software that is going to help you in some way. Or maybe you can buy a better pc/laptop or a new camera.
If you are running a blog, you can pay freelancers to write articles for you, so you can have more time concentrating on other important aspects of your business.
I plan to invest in stocks in the future and I have purchased about 10 books about that kind of investing. That is something you should consider also.
Another great, but expensive, investment is real estate. There is no better way to invest money, but you need a lot of it.
I’m not going to cover all there is about investing, it is a huge topic. I just want to give you some ideas where to focus your efforts to improve your life.
If you read my post my top 20 books for entrepreneurs, you saw some books about investing that I recommend.
Social networks have huge potential of driving traffic to a website. Learning how to take advantage of them is very important skill for someone who creates websites.
This can be something extra to offer to your website customers. I created 3 Instagram profiles for my customers, and I’m making 300 bucks every month with very little effort.
Every social network has some potential to drive traffic. You need to learn how to use them properly and it takes time.
Ones that I focus on are Instagram and Pinterest. These 2 are the best in my opinion, but you can go with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or any other.
Just pick one, learn all the ins and outs and use it to your advantage.
Other than self-education, email marketing has the best ROI (return on investment). According to campaignmonitor.com, every dollar that you invest in email marketing returns 44$.
Collecting email addresses and creating big lists of subscribers is something that every successful business requires.
Whenever you publish new post on your blog, or you add a new product to your store, you can notify thousands of people with just one click and drive traffic to a website.
Email marketing is relatively easy to learn, but still it is very valuable and important skill to have.
Here are some useful resources to learn more about this topic.
I think that I pretty much covered everything that I had to write about this guide. This is pretty long guide and not everything can be swallowed immediately.
If you are interested in this job, but you don’t have required skills right now, read this tutorial at least one more time and continue your research on individual parts of this guide.
For those who wan’t to learn more about making money online, check my guide to affiliate marketing. There is some additional information about websites, blogging, traffic, etc.
If I missed something or something doesn’t make sense to you, please comment below or contact me so I can clear your doubts.
Now what is left is that you take action and go get them!
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Have a nice day.