How to Start a Home-Based Web Design Business

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Web design is a much sought-after skill. After all, businesses need high quality websites to attract clients and individuals often want a website to show off family photos, to share stories or even to sell their own products. Starting a home-based web design business is an ideal option for web designers who want to control how they work, when they work and with whom they work.

Gain the experience that is needed to provide high-quality web design to your clients by taking classes online or offline. It's important, even if you are a seasoned web designer, to keep up with the latest in web design and the industry news, so you can offer the best web design service possible.

Contact the zoning department in your city to determine whether you will need to apply for a zoning permit to legally run your web design business from your home. If you live in a Home Owners' Association or rent your condo or apartment, double-check with the landlord or management to ensure you are allowed to operate a business from your home.

Complete the legalities required to operate your home-based web design business by applying for the applicable business licenses in your city, registering your business with your state and registering your business name, if applicable, with your city or state.

Create a marketing plan that thoroughly details what steps you will take to gain new clients and to keep your existing clients. Implement both online and offline marketing tactics—from article and forum marketing online to using business cards and attending networking events offline—to build your business.

Hire a lawyer to write a contract that includes the terms and conditions for working with your web design business, including how and when payment is to be made, who will own the work upon completion of a project and under what conditions you or the client may back out of the contract. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, consider finding a Statement of Work template online and customizing it to your needs.

Decide how you will keep track of your accounting as accurate records are essential for tax purposes. There are numerous accounting software packages, such as QuickBooks, that will make it easy for you to keep track of all incoming and outgoing money.

Show off your talents by designing an eye-catching website for your home-based web design business. Make sure your web content is action-oriented and is optimized for the search engines by using relevant keywords.

Create a portfolio of your previous work that prospective clients can view to get an idea of your web design skills. If you are a new web designer, consider offering a slight discount on your rates to allow you to build your portfolio.

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