A More Fulfilling Approach to Enjoy Building Your Web Design Businessby Michael Hahn
While it may make logical sense for independent web design contractors to become the best website designers for, let’s say, ‘dentists’ so that they can reuse what they’ve learn about that particular industry for future projects—do you really want to stare at teeth on every project?
One day you may want hone in on a specific industry to devote your web design & development services to but until then, read on if you want to refine your design and relationship skills and build your business while keeping the project work interesting.
Diversity Defines Design
The single factor that has refined my web design skills is taking on diverse client projects. My client list includes: food scientists, psychological services, law firms, eye surgeons, career coaches, dentists, health & wellness, interior design, financial technology, acoustics, shipping & logistics—you get the picture.
Design refinement comes from the challenge of capturing an appropriate mood for the site based on what each client’s audience likely expects while visiting their site.
The front end gets much more interesting when you consider the ideal visitor’s frame-of-mind of the website they’re looking for. Anyone with a decent sense of color and composition can put together a website that is pretty on the surface. Yet it’s each business’ needs and goals that offer an opportunity to define the look and feel of the visual design.
For example, you may use fun, even whimsical interactive elements for an interior design website. The same elements for psychological services may not make sense once the individual that is scheduling an appointment is taken into account. Working closely with a diverse client-base will challenge your design skills by creating compassion for each audience.
Now, I realize we’re only building websites here. Lives aren’t on the line. But why not try designing an experience for the visitor that removes ambiguity so that they can get what they came for? Mix a little bit of industry research and website goals with your visual design skills. You’ll refine your design sensibilities while pleasing your clients – which will also keep it interesting for you.
Listen, Interact & Decide
While you’re listening to what your client wants at the outset of a project you’ll also learn another valuable bit of information—that being, how easy to work with or annoying you find the client to be. In most cases, you’re interacting with anywhere from one to three people while managing a project.
Usually one point person and then a couple additional people along the way for Q & A sessions. Throughout the project you get a feel for the company, expectations and how reasonable the team is when problems arise that may change the project direction or deadline.
This is where building your web design business comes into play. If you and your client are aligned on most cases and they’ve been flexible when issues arose during the project or, you just liked their vibe – you may want to begin thinking about how you can add more value to their company with your services post launch. If it’s been a bumpy road and you’ve had to do a lot of hand-holding along the way you may want to launch and move on.
Even if you’re just starting out and money is tight, I find that continuing business relationships only for the money, adds unnecessary stress as you dread each email request that comes in.
Don’t be locked in with continued services for a client you don’t like working with. Instead, move on and make room for the next good opportunity. I recall learning at a young age that most people will spend the waking hours of their lives with clients and coworkers. This had a profound effect on me. Whenever able, I’ve put myself in a position to choose who I work with and who I provide services for.
If you take the time to understand your client’s industry and business goals and you design with them in mind, you’ll refine your craft, feel confident about your work, build solid business relationships, and happily say ‘’sayonara!” to relationships that don’t serve you.