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  • 1 Post By new_nation
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Thread: Web Design business owner and completely lost...

  1. #1
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    Web Design business owner and completely lost...

    I wanted to share a little bit about myself and see if I can seek some advice from folks here as I believe you will be nothing but blunt/honest about providing advice. I graduated from school with a business degree, but because the economy was not so hot around 2010 when I graduated, I pursued the idea of opening my own business with credit cards and what not. It was a business that sold electronic items and then soon, me and my partner (who also went to business school) decided to pivot as had established a good understanding of what it takes online to sell the product. With whatever knowledge we had about web design, we utilized that and built over 5 websites back in 2011-2012 supporting our 1st business of selling products.

    We wanted to get out of that because we didn't have much capital to keep buying the inventory and do something that would be more profitable and perhaps something we can call our own. We thought to ourselves that "hey, we have built a few websites, and know how wordpress works, so why not build websites for a living along with implementing what we knew at business school". Long story short, I am 28, and my partner is almost the same age. We actually have great design living in a city that isn't so hot, but we have over 30 portfolio examples that are spread out in different niches and actually look good. There are interactive elements, parallax scrolling, and many genres. You name it. My partner started focusing on design and development, where as I started focusing on sales/prospecting. That is how our team has worked so far. I have hired 1 outside sales consultant who is paid hourly to find projects based off of our leads that we have generated, but that is a slow process.

    Right now we have a few referrals and we close a few sales per month.All together we probably close 2-4 sales per month giving up anywhere between $3k-7k depending on how we do. But we are having difficulty now. I am trying to decide if this is the route we should continue on and how successful can we be. Do we pivot again and do something else? Or should we go our own way and I get a corporate america job? I know we are not charging enough and based off of our portfolio, we can charge a lot more. But the issue is we are barely getting any projects. We have invested time in to SEO, primarily just getting google reviews and adjusting our meta title, description and such. But not more. Do I continue this crazy journey of building a business or throw in the towel and realize that wordpress will be obsolete 5 years from now, and move on to a proper 8-5 job. Please ask questions or offer advice. I am open to anything at this point.
    Last edited by new_nation; Mar 04th, 2015 at 09:41 PM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Andrew Yurlov's Avatar
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    If you truly love to design websites then I would say go for it. You're first problem is that you are stuck on wordpress. In my book to be a web designer and developer means to code everything by hand and learn all the major scripting and programming languages like css, html, jquery, php, mysql and so on. Wordpress is fine and can work in a lot of situations but nothing can bean hand coding. If you don't truly like to design and develop websites and just do it for the money then you will fail. This field is highly competitive and will not tolerate anything but the best work.
    Artificial intelligence is nothing compared to natural stupidity -Someone

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    But of course, if you dig deeper, itís really how it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Yurlov View Post
    If you truly love to design websites then I would say go for it. You're first problem is that you are stuck on wordpress. In my book to be a web designer and developer means to code everything by hand and learn all the major scripting and programming languages like css, html, jquery, php, mysql and so on. Wordpress is fine and can work in a lot of situations but nothing can bean hand coding. If you don't truly like to design and develop websites and just do it for the money then you will fail. This field is highly competitive and will not tolerate anything but the best work.
    My partner codes, but primarily uses WP. For site security, we offer a monthly cost and purchase 3rd party software and install for clients. We don't charge monthly maintenance cost because we train our clients how the back-end operates so they can makes changes themselves, unless they are major changes. We are more design oriented right now than development oriented. I guess we could think about bringing on a 3rd partner and who is strictly a developer, but pay is not huge right now..so he will have to start with a much lower pay at least for first half of the year or so. We do have a business plan, but it is not on papers. The business plan really is to grow. Build our portfolio as much as we can, and then we don't know right now..right now we are just trying to survive with getting clients and making the most out of every client

  5. #4
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    Does your partner actually do any hand coding or are you guys implementing themes and plugins found on WP? Can you show us a portfolio?


    Regretfully sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk during lunch and other breaks

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    We don't use themes. We at this point built websites on wordpress from scratch. A client CAN provide us a theme, but narrow down their business plan before we get started and build a custom design primarily on WP, but other platforms like ASP.NET can be used if needed. I would like to share my design sometime in the future, but that will only result in either you telling me it is good or bad. I am trying to get a non-biased advice that will help me decide if I want to continue on with this and pivot in this industry with the limited knowledge, and perhaps hire more people, or just throw in the towel, which I really don't want to do
    Vapr_Arts likes this.

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I would agree with you that WP will be obsolete 5 years from now, except that it's simply too massive for that to happen. I don't mean that in a good way, either; I mean that there are so many people investing time and money in the base level of WP bloat and then adding bloat from plugins and other things that the "community" (read: millions of designer and so-called "developer" sheeple) will keep it propped up. There will be a peak point and a slow descent a la Facebook's current slow early stage descent, but it won't happen for a pretty long time to come. It will come when something "better" comes along, but so far the only people who are building better alternatives are keeping those alternatives to themselves. I know, because I happen to be one of those people and I'm not sharing the code for mine.

    If you want advice as far as where the industry is going long-term, where it is now is where it will be for the foreseeable future. It's not going away, but it's not going to grow or change much either. Yes, we always hear about "the fast paced nature of the Internet", but that's a load of crap for the most part. It moves glacially. Consider this, for example: it took 6 years for HTML5 to be standardized, and that was 8 years after the last update to HTML4. That's freakin' slow.

    That doesn't mean it can't work for you, but chances are where you're at now is where it's going to stay unless you change your business model. The web industry won't change much, so you have to. This is what I'm doing (working on another particular project for myself as we speak). In other words, you won't grow much unless you make yourself grow.

    The one thing I will say: look into .NET. When you realize what it can do compared to PHP, you'll never want to go back...at least if you take the base framework and go in your own direction with it.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    I would agree with you that WP will be obsolete 5 years from now, except that it's simply too massive for that to happen. I don't mean that in a good way, either; I mean that there are so many people investing time and money in the base level of WP bloat and then adding bloat from plugins and other things that the "community" (read: millions of designer and so-called "developer" sheeple) will keep it propped up. There will be a peak point and a slow descent a la Facebook's current slow early stage descent, but it won't happen for a pretty long time to come. It will come when something "better" comes along, but so far the only people who are building better alternatives are keeping those alternatives to themselves. I know, because I happen to be one of those people and I'm not sharing the code for mine.

    If you want advice as far as where the industry is going long-term, where it is now is where it will be for the foreseeable future. It's not going away, but it's not going to grow or change much either. Yes, we always hear about "the fast paced nature of the Internet", but that's a load of crap for the most part. It moves glacially. Consider this, for example: it took 6 years for HTML5 to be standardized, and that was 8 years after the last update to HTML4. That's freakin' slow.

    That doesn't mean it can't work for you, but chances are where you're at now is where it's going to stay unless you change your business model. The web industry won't change much, so you have to. This is what I'm doing (working on another particular project for myself as we speak). In other words, you won't grow much unless you make yourself grow.

    The one thing I will say: look into .NET. When you realize what it can do compared to PHP, you'll never want to go back...at least if you take the base framework and go in your own direction with it.
    ~~~~
    Thank you so much for responding. This actually made me feel better about everything we are doing. I think we are going to keep focusing on WP and then explore other avenues like .NET and perhaps pivot in the next 2-3 years. Thank you again

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    No worries. Give me a few months and you'll hopefully see something I'm creating with VB.NET that will inspire you. I'm about 30% done the layout for it, so I've got a ways to go.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  10. #9
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar situation: I actually have a business education and I run my own web design-ish company.

    I think the thing to keep in mind is that

    1 - as a custom project developer or consultant, you're basically always going to have to make sites or find bigger clients with big needs and can give you retainers. these types of businesses are hard to scale i realized, which means upside limitations. why go into business if you have upside limitations... might as well just get a job. if you and your partner are strong entrepreneurs however, i would say find a team that can do the website work for you, manage it here and there, then spend most of your time looking at other business opportunities. that's what i am doing too. i am making decent money doing what i do, though more importantly, i am learning entrepreneurial skills, how to be a smart business mind, and also picking up a lot of web knowledge and skills. i know too it can't scale well, so in the future, if i can find a better biz opportunity, i will pounce on that. as a entrepreneur, i think you will work with a lot of other business owners, and they will give a lot of inspiration to keep on hustling. i have a client who is a former lawyer + cpa who does spiritual teachings and real estate rentals. i love hearing his business mind. inspires me.

    2 - wordpress will not be obsolete in 5 years. thegame has great points -- when the web picks up something, it's hard to drop it off. case in point: internet explorer. this browser just wont die. 9+ is okay, but people are still using 6, 8, even though they don't comply with html5. and even then, those are the majority browsers of china. when things become entrenched on a large scale, it sticks hard, just like why americans use feet and inches, even though it's sort of not great compared to the metric system. about wordpress, it's a decent system, and has huge market penetration. for it to die, something has to MAKE IT OBSOLETE. the only competitors are site builders like shopify or godaddy or squarespace, but those are for people who was premade solutions, which still doesn't make open source wordpress obsolete. if anything, right now, i benefit greatly from understanding wordpress a lot. for some reason, so many inquiries are about wordpress or people wanting wordpress cms. people just don't ask for other cmses.


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