9 top web designers spill their best business-building advice
Let’s face it. Starting an online business is HARD.
There are so many things to think about—picking your niche, designing your website, figuring out all things legal + taxes, choosing a CRM, finding your brand vibe, getting clients, nailing down finances—the list goes on and on!
It’s no wonder many online businesses fail before they even really get started…it’s an overwhelming process.
I get it. I’ve been there.
And that’s why I’m brining you today’s post. If you’re wanting to start an online business but have no idea what to do or where to start, buckle up cause you’re gonna love what’s coming up next!
As part of my Square Secrets Business course (launching on Black Friday, or November 23rd if you’re not from the States 😉), I’ve included 8 interviews with top web design and online business experts to teach you their own client winning strategies.
Since, you know, getting clients is kinda important, right?!
And at the end of every interview, I asked each expert to give the 1 piece of advice they would give to their younger business self.
And boy, did they have some nuggets of wisdom!
Well, as a little sneak peak of all the goodness inside Square Secrets Business, I wanted to share their answers with you right now.
Yep, that’s right. You’re about to read what each of these experts wish they would have done differently when starting their business.
Get ready to go from 😣 to 😁.
So let’s get to it…
1. Shay from the Bucketlist Bombshells
Advice: Be courageous and confident in your skills!
A lot of the times, starting a business can bring up all kinds of feelings of insecurity and self-confidence issues. I mean it’s so hard to put yourself out there, especially knowing rejection might be just around the corner.
But Shay is our ultimate cheerleader reminding us that if you want to be successful, you have to be courageous in reaching out to people—whether it’s your friends and family telling them about your new career, or pitching a potential client, or handing out your business card to that awesome business owner at the coffee shop.
There will be times in your biz where you’ll have to do something you really don’t wanna do cause you’re scared. DO IT ANYWAY and then pat yourself on the back for that little bit of self-growth you just did 😊
2. Kadie from Drop Cap Design
Advice: Don’t be a hermit and get out and meet people
As an online business owner, it’s sooooo easy to get stuck behind your computer for hours on end. And while it’s arguably the most important place you can be (you do run an online business after all), sometimes it’s helpful to get out from behind your screen for a change of scenery.
Kadie challenged us to get out of the yoga pants, pack the bags and head to your favorite coffee shop, the new coworking space, or a local entrepreneurs networking event.
You never know who you might meet.
Advice: Be on top of your business finances from the very beginning
Ahhh, money. How can something so great cause us so much stress in our biz?!
I think Charlotte nailed it when she talked about how important your business finances are, even if you’re not making much at the beginning.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple income + expenses spreadsheet and a separate business bank account. (You’ll thank yourself come tax time—trust me 😑)
Also, making an income plan of how much money you need to make to support your lifestyle and how many projects it will take you to achieve that is hella important.
And as if by magic, inside Square Secrets Business, there is a whole module on long-term business success which also has my own handy-dandy finance tracker spreadsheet.
Seriously, get your finances in order. Cause the sooner you do that, the sooner you’ll know how much you can spend on margs at happy hour 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻.
4. Promise Tangeman from Go Live HQ
Advice: Take risks and try things. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you need to try something different
This one hit home for me and I would bet it hits home for most online entrepreneurs.
If I can guarantee you one thing, it would be that you’re gonna try something that turns into a big fat flop.
And that’s OKAY.
You will never find success in your business if you don’t take risks and try new things. Just don’t get discouraged if they don’t work out.
Learn from your mistakes, tweak if needed, and move on.
5. Hester from Delilah Creative
Advice: Show up for the long-game. It will eventually all work out
Truth time…very very few online business owners find mega success almost instantly. As much as we wish it wasn’t so, it’s just not how the world works.
Any kind of online business requires perseverance and dedication. In almost anything you do related to your business, CONSISTENCY IS KEY.
And don’t you forget it.
6. Rebecca from The Uncaged Life
Advice: Niche hard from the very beginning
If you’ve ever considered starting an online business, I would bet this has been one of your first questions…
Who do I want to serve? Do I want to stay broad or work with a very specific group of people?
While there are arguments to both options, I would also bet that most online entrepreneurs would argue for niching down as soon as you can.
But why, you ask? Great question.
Here’s the short answer…when you niche down, you establish yourself as the go-to person for a very specific thing. And this leads to attracting tonnnnns of your ideal clients.
Yes, you will repel a lot of people. But you will attract others in DROVES.
If you’re still wondering why to niche down or how to do it, there is an entire lesson on this topic inside Square Secrets Business!
7. Erica from Big Cat Creative
Advice: Use down time in the beginning to work on your marketing strategy
Let’s face it…most of the time the clients aren’t rolling in right when you launch your business. Finding those first few clients takes time.
When things are slow at first, it’s easy to feel like there isn’t much to do after you’ve finally launched your website and announced your biz to the world. WRONG.
Erica told her story of how she used those first few slow months to focus on her Pinterest and blogging strategy until she got more clients. And now, even though she doesn’t have as much time for Pinterest, it is still sending her site traffic=more clients!
Whatever marketing strategy you pick—and def don’t feel like you have to do them all, just pick 1 or 2 you like and will stick with—use the down time to focus on that because I can promise you, the clients won’t come if they don’t know you’re there!
Advice: Offer free consult calls from the get-go
I know you’re probably wondering if free consult calls are even worth your time and if they actually help in getting you clients.
Well the answer is yes they are and yes they do.
You will be shocked at how many more inquiries turn into paying clients once you start offering free consult calls.
And they don’t have to take a ton of time…15-30 minutes is plenty to seal the deal.
Pro-tip: use a scheduler like Acuity (yes, that’s an affiliate link!) to schedule your calls as opposed to emailing back and forth with the potential client to find a time that works. You can include your scheduling link in your auto-response email after an inquiry and make it super easy for the client to get on board!
9. Paige Brunton
Advice: Get your mindset right and get rid of negative self-talk
Yes, I did an interview about my favorite marketing strategy-blogging.
If there’s one thing I can thank for the success of my business, it’s my blog and email list.
But if you’ve read my entrepreneurial story, you would know my business did not get off to a great start. And the biggest reason why was cause my mindset was not in the right place.
What I did to help that is read self-development books. Roll your eyes all you want but I promise they helped! I’m not sure I would have been successful if I hadn’t read them.
Here are a couple of my favs:
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
(and yes, those are affiliate links!)
Well friends, there you have it. The best advice from some of the top online entrepreneurs in the business.
I hope this reminded you that everyone starts somewhere and it’s perfectly okay to make mistakes along the way.
And if you’re hungry for more, don’t forget to enroll in Square Secrets Business to get access to the full interviews + so much more on starting your own online web design business!!