Tips for Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: Working as a Boutique Web Designer
Today’s “I Want to Be” series features April Wier. April is the owner of Great Green Creative and is a wife and mom to two kids. She lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York with her family and cat named Twilight that was named WAY before the books came out. Find out how to connect with April at the end of this article.
How long have you had your business?
I officially opened the door to my web design business, Great Green Creative, in November of 2012.
What led you to pursue it?
My husband and I used to own a house painting business. My first foray into website creation was an attempt at creating a website for that venture. I was so frustrated by the generic website creator my hosting company provided, I decided it would be easier to learn to do it from scratch than to keep fooling around with their buggy software. A couple of years later, I was attending school for Accounting. I found that I was putting off doing my homework by building websites. At some point, I had a light bulb moment and transferred into the Web Design program.
Are you part-time or full-time? If part-time, do you anticipate moving to full-time?
I work around 20-30 hours a week, currently. As a mom to a very busy two-year old, I have no desire to take my business full-time. Instead of increasing my hours, my goal is to increase my efficiency and productivity. I plan to do that by continuing to streamline my workflow and by expanding my team.
How do you market your business?
I advertise daily on Craigslist. I also get a lot of my business from referrals. The most surprising for me, though, is how much business I get just from talking to people in my day-to-day life.
What is your favorite part of the business?
There is always something to learn in this field. The moment when I use a new skill to implement a great design is my favorite part.
What one question do you get most from people about your business?
Can you help me? Just about everyone has a business, hobby, or cause that they want to promote.
What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?
Follow your bliss. Find out what you enjoy. You will be working for free for a long time while you learn the business. Make sure you are working for the enjoyment, not the money. The money won’t be there for a while. I recommend the following resources:
- YouTube.com – There are many, many video tutorials on how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and other programs. Scan the offerings until you see something that looks fun. If you can’t afford the expensive Adobe programs, there are some terrific Open-Source programs that are free. Check out Gimp and Inkscape to start. I still go back to Gimp every now and then, and I have access to the entire Adobe Creative Suite.
- Udemy.com – They have some fabulous free courses in design. The various instructors run sales periodically. I recently took advantage of a 90% sale and got a great $99 course for $9.
- Teamtreehouse.com – This site is an excellent way to learn coding. They have learning adventures and rewards for completing modules.
- BloggingwithAmy.com – Amy has compiled a wealth of information and brilliant tutorials that walk you step-by-step through some of the more confusing parts of setting up a blog.
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Web Designer by Neil Tortorella – This is a great nuts and bolts guide to starting and running a solo shop.
- Platform by Michael Hyatt – An indispensable look at positioning your business and that of your clients
Start making a note of what you like about the sites you visit. This will begin to give you an idea of your own design style. Then, create a website for yourself. Become a Google search master to figure things out when you get stuck. Good luck!
To learn more about April, stop by her website, Great Green Creative or her writing website, April Wier. You can also follow her on Facebook.
*Photo by kewl via Flickr. Affiliate links used.