You’ve spent years mastering your craft and now feel ready to step into the world of business with your own web design agency. Before you do, though, it’s vital that you put the right foundations in place.

Here are 22 tips to help you build the brand and business that you’ve always wanted.

#1. Build a killer website of your own

Ever wanted a haircut from a barber with rubbish hair? How about visiting a personal stylist that struts around in jogging bottoms paired with loafers? Exactly!

Clients aren’t going to trust you with their web design needs if you can’t even be trusted with your own. Get this right before doing anything.

#2. Recruit well

Think you’re capable of doing it all alone? Worked out well for Mick Jagger in the 80s didn’t it…

As with any business you’re only as good as your team, which is why finding the best candidates is essential. With their continued support, success is far more likely.

#3. Create a fun workspace

Making money will undoubtedly put a smile on your face, but it certainly helps when you’re happy at work too.

A well-designed workspace boasting attractive interiors and suitable layouts can encourage greater productivity. You’ll probably spend more time here than your own living room. So make it pleasant.

#4. Master WordPress

Whether you like it or not, a lot of clients will feel most comfortable using WordPress. If it keeps them happy, it’ll keep you happy.

The creative process may be a little limited, but you cannot ignore the power of WordPress any longer. Go back to basic to understand it fully.

#5. Get your IT in order

They say a bad workman blames his tools. If the facilities aren’t up to scratch, though, you will find yourself bemoaning the situation too.

Fast hardware, specialist tools like graphics tablets, and a fast internet connection should all be on the agenda along with the latest and greatest most appropriate Software you can find.

#6. Know your brand

It’s not all about selling your services. Selling the brand is an equally crucial factor, and building a solid personality is vital.

The harsh reality is that your natural charisma alone won’t be enough. Whether it’s a corporate vibe or a relaxed tone, setting the right atmosphere across the business is key.

#7. Avoid bad clients

It may sound a little crazy, but saying no to a client is sometimes the best thing you can do. Always look out for the red flags.

Difficult clients could end up wasting your time while preventing you from taking on bigger and better projects. Besides, rejecting their custom now is a lot easier than killing them later…

#8. Master SEO

Many business owners will be more interested in ranking highly on Google than seeing your pretty designs. So, master SEO.

There are many tools to aid the process and help you show the client quantifiable progress. Embrace them immediately.

#9. Reduce financial waste

We’d love to think that starting a business is all about the passion of web design. It isn’t. Making a profit is still a huge incentive, and profit is a two-way street.

Keeping the costs down removes some of the pressure. From cheap insurance to affordable utility bills, trim the fat wherever possible.

#10. Focus on autonomous marketing

Creating content is quite enjoyable. The repetitive process of promoting the content to prospective clients is not.

Use automatic social media posting to hit every platform at a single click and use automated email marketing streams. Whatever you do, don’t sit there doing it all manually. That would be madness.

#11. Go international

The ability to serve a global audience is something that every digital company should embrace. However, this is particularly vital when working with the web design process.

Even if that means creating a network of remote employees from around the world, becoming an international company at an early stage will fill you with immense pride.

#12. Work with clients you love

Knowing whether you want to create a formal or informal brand image is one thing. However, working with clients in a field you’re passionate about can work wonders.

Love music? Then actively aim to get work from bands and artists. Love sports? Do the same with athletes and teams. Love peanut butter? Get out more… (just kidding).

#13. Get organized

We all have visions of a smooth journey to the top. In truth, that’s probably a load of baloney.

Still, you can achieve a far closer reality with the use of workload management tools and improved internal communication. If nothing else, this will make business far less stressful.

#14. Invest in yourself

While you are an expert in the field of web design, there’s always room for improvement.

Taking advanced courses and learning to incorporate the newest technologies can only have a positive impact. It should provide motivation too, which is great news for any entrepreneur.

#15. Use the business to support causes

Showing a human touch can work wonders for the business, but this is also a great way to do charitable things for projects that are close to your heart.

Knowing that you’ve helped increase the awareness and provided financial support is truly rewarding. To keep you sane however, choose just one cause you want to help.

#16. Focus on simplicity

It’s easy to forget that your clients aren’t that tech-savvy…

Unfortunately, that’s the situation you’re dealing with. Overcome those problems with easy calls to action, such as ‘call now’, ‘order today’, etc. Overcomplicate things at your peril.

#17. Gain repeat business

Winning new clients is one route to success, but getting more money from each client would be an even better solution.

Provide ongoing services, such as content production, care plans, regular proactive online marketing services, to turn a one-time client into an ongoing one. Easy.

#18. Have VIP clients

We all want to work with the best clients, and studies show that that the average web design company gains 80% of business from 20% of customers.

Therefore, giving those valued clients the VIP treatment is essential. Go the extra mile to provide quality work, and don’t be afraid to put on fun events outside of work.

#19. Aim for referrals

Some may call it lazy, but we call it smart. Getting existing clients to promote the business on your behalf will do a lot of the hard work for you. Besides, their words carry more weight.

Once again, you cannot expect to do it all alone. Likewise, accepting that the Google Reviews platform is bigger than your service is a vital step to take.

#20. Do other tech-related activities

Web design is your priority, but clients can be influenced by outside things. Being involved with podcasts, online magazine, and other modern digital projects can help greatly.

This is a great way to have fun with the business and further promote that winning brand image too.

#21. Charge the right fees

While providing clients with value for money is crucial, ensuring that you are paid a suitable fee for your work. Let’s face it, nothing drains your optimism like being underpaid.

It’s important to do your own thing in business, but this is one area where researching what’s already on the market can provide guidance.

#22. Don’t give up

Finally, there will be setbacks along the way. Dust yourself off and get back on the road to success. You’ve got this!

And finally – join a Facebook Group around your genre, it helps to get instant advice on any issue in your business – here’s ours – its friendly and gives great peer to peer support.

Andrew Palmer on FacebookAndrew Palmer on Twitter
Andrew Palmer
Andrew is the founder of Elegant Marketplace.