Opening your own Web design studio can be a wonderful way to turn your computer skills into a steady source of income. Web designers are free to work whatever hours they choose, making this a great choice for people in search of a way to balance work and family obligations. Start-up costs are minimal and it is possible to work from a home office, although you will want to check with your local zoning board if you plan to have client meetings in your home.
Since it's hard to get paying clients without samples of your work, you may want to consider volunteering to complete a few Web sites for various organizations in your community before you attempt to open your own Web design studio. This can be a great way to polish your skills, build your portfolio, and use your talents to help a cause you support. However, keep in mind that it's best to avoid using sites for religious or political organizations as your primary work samples. You don't want to risk offending a potential client who does not share your beliefs.
Once you have a basic portfolio Web site ready for review, there are a few different approaches you can take to finding paying clients. Contacting local businesses directly about their need for Web design services or networking through your Chamber of Commerce can be helpful. Bidding on freelance jobs through various online Web sites can be a good strategy for obtaining work for your Web design studio, although the bidding process does tend to result in an overall lowering of wages. Working as a subcontractor for an experienced Web designer is another option to consider as well.
In most cases, Web designers are paid by the project instead of receiving an hourly wage. This means that it is very important to be able to approximate how long it will take you to complete a particular job. Keep accurate records of how much time you spend working on each of your projects, then add in a 10 to 15 percent overage to allow for revision requests, technical troubles, or other unexpected problems.
Don't forget that opening a Web design studio requires you to pay self employment tax on your earnings. In the United States, this covers the portion of Social Security, Medicare, and disability tax your employer would normally pay. To avoid potential problems, it's best to speak with a qualified accountant about how your new Web design studio will affect your tax liability.