Planning, Running a Web Design Business or Small Business - Articles, Tutorials, Resources, and Books
Planning, running, and managing a Web design business or small business are the topics for the resources in this section, such as business planning and management, home office and small business tips, pricing your work, working with clients, recommended books, and more.
Know of some good articles, tutorials, tips, Web sites, books, or other resources related to planning, running, managing a Web design business or other small business? Recommendations are welcome and encouraged!
On this page:
- Articles and Tutorials on Planning, Running a Web Design Business, Pricing Work, Working with Clients
- Web Sites or Web Site Sections Devoted to Business Planning and Management
- Recommended Books on Planning, Running a Web Design / Development Business, Graphic Design Business, Freelancing, or Small Business, Success, Motivation, and Productivity
Also within Web Design Business:
- Web Design Business Home
- Small Business Finances, Managing Money (1 page)
- The Legal Side of Web Design Business and Web Site Ownership (1 page)
- Creating Your Office Workspace (2 pages)
- Training, Education, Online Courses in the Web Design, Development Fields (1 page)
- Professional Organizations, Associations, and Groups (1 page)
Articles and Tutorials on Planning, Running a Web Design Business
Planning Your Web Design Business
- Freelancing in the Web World
Do you have what it takes to freelance, to be on your own? Webmonkey's Evany Thomas walks you through what you need to consider, the pros and cons, finding work, how to charge, and how to get started. [Article dated 03/08/2001 by Evany Thomas, for Webmonkey.]
- How to Build a Web Design Business
Part 1 of a 2-part series on important aspects of creating a Web design business. This first tutorial covers tools needed. “Publishing a couple Web pages can be accomplished by just about anyone, but to build a self-sustaining business one needs the right tools, planning, experience and training. Businesses paying $500 for a Web site quickly discover that their site rarely provides repeat business or referrals - the life blood of any business. In this series of articles you'll learn about the must have tools and skills to build a Web design business.” [Article/tutorial dated 12/12/2007, by Peggie Brown, for Web Reference.]
- How to Build a Web Design Business, Part 2
Part 2 of a 2-part series on important aspects of creating a Web design business. This second tutorial covers important skills needed to build a website - such as HTML, CSS, understanding various browsers, understanding search engines, which meta element tags matter for search engines, how to create robots.txt, sitemaps, custom 404 pages, creating a portfolio, e-commerce knowledge, security, programming, and more. As the site states in Part I, “Publishing a couple Web pages can be accomplished by just about anyone, but to build a self-sustaining business one needs the right tools, planning, experience and training. Businesses paying $500 for a Web site quickly discover that their site rarely provides repeat business or referrals - the life blood of any business. In this series of articles you'll learn about the must have tools and skills to build a Web design business.” [Article/tutorial dated 12/12/2007, by Peggie Brown, for Web Reference.]
- This Web Business, Part I
by Scott Kramer for A List Apart. Planning A Business, including how to put together an official business plan, what needs to be considered, and more. [Article dated 10/20/2000 by Scott Kramer for A List Apart.]
- This Web Business, Part II: Getting A Loan
by Scott Kramer for A List Apart. Continuation of Part I above, this time going into detail about how to get a business loan. Excellent. [Article dated 08/13/2005 by Scott Kramer for A List Apart.]
Home Office, Small Business Tips
- The Business Plan for the Home-Based Business
Information and worksheet about what to consider and how to go about creating a home-based business. [Article/tutorial dated 2000, 2001, by Carol Eliason, Linda Pinson, and Jerry Kinnett for U.S. Small Business Administration.]
- How to Manage Home Business Cash Flow Effectively
Good points made about timely billings, deposits, and other cash flow tips. [Article by PowerHomeBiz.com, LLC.]
- Insuring Your Home Business
Explains the reasons why you need to insure your home office. [Article by Nolo.]
- Pros and Cons of Working from Home
As the title states, this article covers and advantages and disadvantages of working from home, and includes plenty of tips and insight about each pro and con. Some of the pros covered: more time with children, reduced travel time, wardrobe savings, office rent savings, tax benefits, shared fixed expenses, flexibility. The cons covered: slips into slackness and the need for strong discipline, pressing personal chores, human interaction, and more. [Article/tutorial dated 04/11/2007, by Vishal P. Rao, for Lifehack.org.]
Site packed with inspiration, articles, tips, and information for small business owners, such as marketing, workshops, newsletter, scheduled chats, and more. [Web site: Womenandbiz.com.]
Home Office, Small Business Productivity, Time Management Tips
- 11 Time Management Tips
Tips on finding out where you're wasting time, creating time management goals, implementing a plan, using time management tools, prioritizing, delegating or outsourcing, establishing routines, more. [Article/tutorial by Susan Ward, About.com Guide to Small Business: Canada.]
- Daily Planning
Discusses four main points to making sure you plan each day effectively to make the best use of your time - creating a to do list and how to manage it and set priorities, and how to manage appointments and scheduled events. [Article dated 2001 by Dr. Donald E. Wetmore for Managerwise.com.]
- Productivity Tip: How Not to Overspend Your Time On a Task
Great tips and insight here on how to watch for and keep time limits - setting a clear expected output and monitoring that regularly, setting and keeping deadlines [Article/tutorial dated 10/02/2007, by Donald Latumahina, for lifehack.org.]
- Stomping Ants or Making Hippos Fly! The Art of Managing Time and Your Life
Helpful, interesting article on how to organize and prioritize your time. [Article by Gregory P. Smith, Chart Your Course International.]
- Time Management Skills - Maximize your Effectiveness
Practical series that shows you how to use personal time management skills. [Article by Mindtools.com.]
- Top 10 Reasons Why Happiness at Work is the Ultimate Productivity Booster
Optimism, motivation, energy, less complaining are among the 10 reasons discussed here. In addition, it discusses tackling tasks and time management, organization. Good insight, interesting article. [Article/tutorial dated 03/27/2007, by Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer.]
Motivation, Productivity Books
Recommended by WebsiteTips.com
See more Motivation, Productivity Books Recommendations below.
Web Design Business Tips
Below you'll find articles and tips specific to Web design business, home offices, and good general business tips.
- A Practical Guide to Working with Graphic Designers (PDF)
(or text version via Google.com). By The Graphic Artists Guild of Albany. Insightful information for prospective clients and helpful for graphic designers and web designers and developers. Includes a typical work schedule, what can be typically expected working with a designer, a production outline schedule, and more. [Article by The Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) of Albany.]
- Increase the Efficiency of Your Web Design Business
Micah Cranman's short overview of basics to help your Web design business efficiency, making suggestions for what to have handy and related. [Article dated 03/08/2001 by Micah Cranman for Sitepoint.com.]
- Making the Most of Your Design Business
By Thomas Granger for DevShed.com. Great guidelines about dealing with potential clients, setting up a contract and agreement, getting a deposit and why, and much more. Sections include an overview (introduction) and how to separate from the amateurs. Good tips to follow. [Article dated 05/04/2001 by Thomas Granger for Dev Shed.]
- Rule #1 For Busy Freelancers to Follow: Don't be Everything to Everybody
First article in a 3-part series on lessons learned and tips for freelancers in the Web design business. Ypenburg writes about his own experiences and the consequences of trying to be everything for his clients rather than sticking to what he does best and keeping that focus. Interesting, helpful article. The other 2 articles in this series: Rule #2 For Busy Freelancers to Follow: Be Honest with Your Scheduling, Rule #3 For Busy Freelancers to Follow: Manage Your Client as Well as the Project. [Article/tutorial dated 05/30/2007, by Derrick Ypenburg, for Community MX.]
- What I Learned from Starting my Own Business
Being motivated; having passion; believing in yourself; eagerness to learn; researching and spotting warning signs; calculating costs for startup, equipment, supplies, furniture, office space, and related. Plenty of insight and tips here. [Article/tutorial dated 08/29/2007, by Veerle, Veerle's Blog.]
Pricing Your Work
- Handbook for Small Business: Pricing Services Profitably
Helpful information about how to go about pricing your services. [Article/tutorial dated 1999, by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Publications.]
- How Much Should You Charge for Your Service?
Four-part article covers how to price your services to attract business and make a profit, how to calculate your hourly rate and what to consider, investigating the marketplace, and creating a written fee agreement. Easy to follow and understand. [Article/tutorial dated 2006, by Stephen Fishman, Attorney at Law, for NOLO.]
- Pricing Creative Services
How to know what to charge, how to learn a client's budget even when they're reluctant to tell you, how to negotiate realistic fees and get successful contract where everyone's happy, and more. [Article/tutorial dated 12/2006, by Maria Piscopo, for Communication Arts.]
- Smart Pricing for Creative Professionals
Covers pricing basics - knowing how much a project will cost you to produce, usage rights, fixed-fee contracts, work-for-hire contracts, preparing an irresistible proposal document, breaking down phases of each project, legal terms and conditions, extra items, terms and conditions, and more. [Article/tutorial dated 01/2005, by Maria Piscopo, for Communication Arts.]
- You Pay Now!
Good article on how to handle companies and individuals who ask you to present ideas and mock-ups but only want to pay you if they decide they like it. Read how not to be taken advantage of, along with other helpful tips. [Article dated 06/03/2003 by Jordan Bochanis for Reveries Magazine.]
Pricing Your Web Design, Development Work
- Freelance Pricing Part 1 - Set Your Rate!
Helpful article/tutorial on how to go about setting your rate using a variety of different approaches. [Article/tutorial dated 03/05/2002, by Rachel Goldstein for SitePoint.]
- Freelance Pricing Part 2 - Quoting To Win! [Article/tutorial dated 03/12/2002, by Rachel Goldstein for SitePoint.]
- How Do You Rate? Figuring your real hourly rate
(formerly at about.com). [Article/tutorial dated 02/27/2002, by Guest Author Neil Tortorella, Tortorella Design for Freelance Work.]
- How to Estimate a Web Site Project
Well done article full of helpful insight and tips about how to go about estimating a Web site project. Pros and cons of free estimates, a 5-step process to estimating, breaking down the specifications, figuring out how much time each task will take, remembering contingencies, and more. [Article/tutorial by Patty Ayers, for WebDevBiz.com.]
- How To Set Rates
By Bob Schmidt. Helpful article on various formulas to determine how much you need to charge as a website designer or developer. [Article by Bob Schmidt, provider.com.]
- HWG Pricing FAQ
Must Read. It is typically against discussion list policies to discuss how much you charge. HWG's Pricing FAQ explains why. [FAQ by hwg.org]
- Pricing a Project
What to consider with pricing projects, tips for clients, too. Well done, good insight here. [Article/tutorial dated 04/25/2006, by Brian Fling, for Blue Flavored Blog.]
- Pricing Web Work - What Should You Charge?
by Matt Mickiewicz. Good guidelines provided about factors to consider for figuring out your rates, costs to consider, and more. [Article dated 08/21/2001 by Matt Mickiewicz for Sitepoint.com.]
Working with Clients
- Are You Choosing the Right Clients?
Connecting with the right people, feeling trust, and more. [Article by Charlene Rashkow, for Creative Latitude.]
- Keep Clients Coming Back
Helpful proactive tips to help your relationship with existing clients to thrive and grow. Good insight here. [Article/tutorial dated 09/2006, by Maria Piscopo, for Communication Arts.]
- What makes those damn clients so difficult?
by Wanda Cummings for Digital-Web.com. Excellent article about how to deal with difficult clients and also how to avoid taking on difficult clients in the first place. Humorous, well written, great points. Includes sample contracts and more. [Article dated 10/15/2000 by Wanda Cummings for Digital Web.]
Web Sites or Web Site Sections Devoted to Business Planning and Management
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
This highly regarded organization helps promote trust in business, both on and off the Internet. They also provide tips to building a trustworthy, credible business and maintaining a positive reputation. [Web site: bbbonline.org.]
- Business of Graphic Design
Annotated resources from About.com, including building your business, business forms, dealing with clients, networking, portfolios, and more. [Part of About.com Graphic Design.]
- Business Owner's Toolkit
Whether planning or in business for years, there's an abundance of helpful tools at this site. You'll find customizable model business documents (letters, forms, contracts, policies, more), financial spreadsheet templates, checklists in abundance, official U.S. Government forms, more. [Tools by CCH Inc., toolkit.cch.com.]
- Creative Business
Articles, free forms, books, workshops, links and resources, and more. [Web site: Creative Business, Inc.]
- Fortune Small Business (FSB)
Branch of Fortune Magazine all about small business ownership. Success stories, dot bombs and why, articles to help you run your business, investing, raising money, managing people, more. [Part of fortune.com.]
- National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
This powerful lobbying organization for independent business owners provides information for business owners at their site with a huge “Business Toolbox” educational resources section on every possible aspect of your business, including accounting, compensation, finance, legal issues, marketing, business insurance, equipment, legislation, managing your office, MyBUSINESS magazine, shipping issues, starting a business, the Internet and a website, and much more. [Web site: National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)]
- Online Women's Business Center (SBA)
Articles, tips, and resources for creating, financing, building, and running a successful business. Very helpful site and a branch of the SBA. [Web site: Online Women's Business Center (SBA).]
You'll find lots of information, tools and resources for a home business, from planning to preparing for retirement. [Web site: PowerHomeBiz.com.]
- Small Business
About.com's large resource area for small business information, software, tools, tips, and more. [Web site section: About.com Small Business.]
- Small Business Administration (U.S.)
The U.S. Small Business Administration website has plenty of information about planning and financing your business, laws and regulations, local office locations, business opportunities, workshops, software, and more. [Web site: Small Business Administration (U.S.)]
- Small Business, Canada
About.com's resources for planning and running a small business in Canada. [Web site section: About.com Small Business, Canada.]
- SOHO Online
Resources for small office or home business owners. [Web site: Small Office Home Office (SOHO).]
- Startup Journal
The Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneur. Lots of articles here on how to plan, run, manage a business and lots more. [Startup Journal, part of The Wall Street Journal]
Recommended Books on Planning, Running a Web Design / Development Business, Graphic Design Business, Freelancing, Small Business, Success, Motivation, and Productivity
Recommended Books on Planning, Running a Web Design / Development Business or Small Business
- The Web Design Business Kit 2.0
by Brendon Sinclair. Fantastic 2-binder + CD-ROM kit. Published by SitePoint Books (August, 2007). Highly recommended. This Kit contains an enormous wealth of information within its generous two binders and CD-ROM. As the publisher states, the first binder “contains 509 8.5"x11" letter-size pages divided into 5 major sections, each designed to walk you through Brendon's approach towards being successful in business.” That's not just marketing hype, either.
Regarding the 1st edition that I own, I was continually amazed the more I delved into it and looked up something. The 2nd edition released August 2007, The Web Design Business Kit 2.0, is not only updated, it's also expanded with additional advice and ideas, and includes several new chapters and new documents.
Everything contained within The Web Design Business Kit 2.0 is practical, real-world information, with terrific insight, tips, and ready-to-use documents that Brendon himself uses in running his successful Web design business. Although it's especially helpful for those just starting out, even if you've been in business awhile you can still pick up plenty of helpful information from this fabulous publication.
The first binder, The Manual, has 5 main sections with over 500 pages of incredibly helpful content packed with insight, tips, and information that will take you through planning, starting, running, and expanding your business:
- First Steps In Freelancing
- Establish Your Business
- Run Your Business
- Expand Your Business
- Look To The Future
The second binder, Documents, contains 73 “ready-to-use business documents” (over 182 pages), along with a CD-ROM with them for you to use and customize for your needs. The main sections:
- Business Planning and Financial Documents
- Promotional Tools
- Client Contact Documents
- Employment Documents
- Office Documents
The CD-ROM has the same organization as the Documents binder, so it's easy to follow along with the information in the Documents binder, too. All of the documents on the CD-ROM are included on the CD-ROM in .doc format (Microsoft Word), along with some .xls (Microsoft Excel) spreadsheet documents.
Is it worth the cost? As I've told colleagues, in my opinion it's more than worth its weight in gold for those getting started with their own Web design businesses. It's also quite helpful for anyone who has a Web design business or for employees. I'm glad that Brendon Sinclair put together this valuably helpful Web Design Business Kit. I haven't seen anything else that covers so much and provides so much all in one package.
You can visit SitePoint Books to read more details about The Web Design Business Kit 2.0 and download several chapters to see what you think for yourself before purchasing it. In addition, there are reviews and comments around the Web about it, too:
- [thelist] “The Web Design Business Kit”
Discussion list thread about the pros and cons, via Evolt.org's thelist discussion list, week of July 19, 2004. You'll find positive, negative comments about it here.
- “The Web Design Business Kit” - Book Review
Review by czupryna for SiteCritique. This review is based on the downloadable chapters from SitePoint's Web site and not the complete Kit, but it still gives good information here.
- The Web Design Business Kit, Brendon Sinclair
Weblog / blog post and review dated October 21, 2004, by Creative Arc, Inc. Good information here, too.
Also Recommended by WebsiteTips.com on Web Design Business, Graphic Design Business, Freelancing, Small Business
Books on Personal, Professional, and Business Success, Motivation, Productivity
Read short reviews and find more book recommendations on Web site-related topics in our Recommended Books, Software section!