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  1. #1
    Senior Member Blackhawk095's Avatar
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    I've been working on website design for a while and I have decided to start a small town web design business. I am not in any way a pro, but I believe I'm good enough to create presentable websites.
    (Such as these: Engineering/Tech Website , School Design Template)

    I have a few questions on how to start the small business:

    1. Business name: I need to find a name to be known by. Should I go by something simple like "ParsonsDesign", or should I go for a more creative name?

    2. Advertising/Finding design jobs: I have a bit of a disadvantage compared to most designers. I'm 16 years old. Not many people will take me seriously. How do I advertise myself in a way that makes my business look professional and shows people that I'm not a lazy teenager looking for a way to scam money off of them?

    3. Contracts? : I have noticed that many designers use contracts so customers can't back out of a design job for no reason. I may be wrong, but I believe that I must be at least 18 to legally be able to sign business contracts with people. Are there any alternatives that I could use for job security?

    If you can think of any other information I may need, please post it.
    [COLOR=rgb(0, 51, 102)]Student Web Designer[/COLOR]
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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    You'll have to start with small jobs, or non-profit companies, etc. No written contracts,
    but verbal agreements. Test out the waters, so to speak. Even if you don't charge so much
    for those first couple sites ... if they are very successful projects, word of mouth will get
    you pretty far, and those couple of sites become part of your portfolio.

    If you get larger sites, charge accordingly ... don't sell yourself short. Really focus on
    features that allow your clients to edit content themselves. Also get specific about features,
    such as mobile, ipad, and handheld pages designed for small screen devices. Learn as
    much as you can about PHP, MySQL, JQuery, AJAX, and ASP (if Windows Servers are
    commonly used).


  4. #3
    Senior Member Ganners's Avatar
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    Rather than 'starting a small business' you should just think of it as 'going freelance'. Job security can be a problem, but you'll find the cost of getting contracts written up and various other charges outweighs the cost of risk. There are measures you can take though, depending on how you wish to be paid.

    An option I never though of but have recently come across is splitting a project up into stages, and sending invoices for each stage. If you don't get any money, you don't need to continue. A stage could just be a week, so risk would possibly never be too great. Monthly invoices may just mean you're working for nothing (I've never had this problem though)!

    You need not register a business name, you can if you want but it's added unnecessary cost.

    I never had to advertise myself, I had my first job through university, after working for them for some time and going freelance I continued to do work for them, and they recommended me to other business partners. Then I gained other work through those people, and even some from people my parents work with. Perhaps you could have similar luck?
    Mark Gannaway Software Developer

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    - Anagram solving (http://roflol.co.uk/)

  5. #4
    Senior Member Blackhawk095's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganners, post: 223044
    Rather than 'starting a small business' you should just think of it as 'going freelance'. Job security can be a problem, but you'll find the cost of getting contracts written up and various other charges outweighs the cost of risk. There are measures you can take though, depending on how you wish to be paid.
    What I'm going for is more on the freelance side then the "business" side. I plan on creating templates and selling them online as well as building websites for local businesses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganners, post: 223044
    An option I never though of but have recently come across is splitting a project up into stages, and sending invoices for each stage. If you don't get any money, you don't need to continue. A stage could just be a week, so risk would possibly never be too great. Monthly invoices may just mean you're working for nothing (I've never had this problem though)!
    I never thought of that. I'll try it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganners, post: 223044
    You need not register a business name, you can if you want but it's added unnecessary cost.
    By "business name", I'm talking about what I would be recognized by. For instance, the name people would see in the header of my personal "web design" website (which I am still designing). I don't plan on officially registering the name.
    Would it be better to go with a simple business name (example: "ParsonsDesign"), or a more creative name?
    [COLOR=rgb(0, 51, 102)]Student Web Designer[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=rgb(0, 51, 102)]If you thought something I said was helpful. LIKE IT![/COLOR]

  6. #5
    Senior Member Ganners's Avatar
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    Well, business names are a difficult thing. All the best ones are taken! Simple is better, so Parsons Design sounds fine to me, you could roll anything like Parsons Interactive, Parsons Digital, Parsons Creative. Just make sure it's not already taken! You'd be surprised at what business names are registered.
    Mark Gannaway Software Developer

    Recent Experiments
    - Backpropogation Neural Network language solving (http://ann.ganners.co.uk/)
    - Animated image to ASCII (http://google.ganners.co.uk/)
    - 3D Paper Characters (http://cybergame.ganners.co.uk/)
    - Anagram solving (http://roflol.co.uk/)

  7. #6
    Senior Member Blackhawk095's Avatar
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    I googled "ParsonsDesign" and I found "Parsons Web Design". That is a little too close. I'll have to find something else.
    [COLOR=rgb(0, 51, 102)]Student Web Designer[/COLOR]
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  8. #7
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    parswebs.com is open.
    webparson.com is open.

    I like webparson ... sort of easy to remember.

    Also, register webparsons.com at the same time.

    Just a thought.


  9. #8
    Senior Member Blackhawk095's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim, post: 223134
    parswebs.com is open.
    webparson.com is open.

    I like webparson ... sort of easy to remember.

    Also, register webparsons.com at the same time.

    Just a thought.
    I'll consider it.

    Just to throw out another idea, do you think it would be a good idea to use my forum id as a name?

    Example: BlackhakwDesign. I found one website business that is similar, but it has a .uk extension in the URL, so it's not even in the same country as me.
    [COLOR=rgb(0, 51, 102)]Student Web Designer[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=rgb(0, 51, 102)]If you thought something I said was helpful. LIKE IT![/COLOR]

  10. #9
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    That's what I did (shovenose.com). I would recommend it but I'm a noob so don't quote me on the good-idea-ness of that ok?
    Blackhawk095 likes this.

  11. #10
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Too bad that one is already taken (blackhawkdesign).



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