8 Tips for Running a Web Design Business Part Time with SiteSwan
8 Tips for Running a Web Design Business Part Time with SiteSwan

8 Tips for Running a Web Design Business Part-Time

Published on October 7, 2020. Updated on May 18, 2021.

One of the things that makes web design such an attractive business to start, is that it does not need to be run with a full-time commitment. Many web designers work part-time, nights and weekends, or as a way to earn supplemental income. You don’t have to dedicate 40 hours a week as a web designer to be successful and bring in substantial revenue. In fact, you can earn an extra $500 - $1,500 per week selling just a handful of sites.

If you're currently running your web design business part-time, or thinking about starting one, here are 8 tips to help you maximize your efforts and your earning potential.

1. Designate Specific Days and Times to Focus on Your Business

One of the biggest truths in business is that you only get out of your business what you put into it. If you’re going to start a web design business part-time, make sure that you firmly commit to actually spending time on it. It doesn’t have to be full-time hours, but it has to be consistent, focused, and at a time that you’ll be productive. For example: if you have a day job that you get out earlier on some days, use the afternoon to focus on your web design business. Weekends are generally great too – when you consider that lots of local businesses are open and available to discuss their website and marketing needs on Saturdays and Sundays. Skip the expensive social lunch gathering with co-workers, and use your lunch hour to prospect and make phone calls, and always be on the lookout for who could be your next (or first) client. Once you have a schedule down, you won’t have to feel like you’re carving out time to work, and if you have to stop what you’re doing while in the middle of something, you’ll know exactly when you can pick up where you left off, which is very good for productivity.

2. Use Your Time Wisely

Offering websites to small businesses requires multiple responsibilities. The two biggest ones that you’ll need to focus on are design and sales. The tasks associated with selling websites are more sensitive to the time of day than that of designing sites. After all, most small businesses aren’t open 24 hours a day, so you need to make sure you’re approaching them (either by phone or in person) during their hours of operation. This is why most web designers who are running their business part time, tend to use any free time during the workday hours to focus on sales. Building and designing the sites, on the other hand, can be done any time of day or night, with really no time restrictions because all it requires is you to be in front of your computer. Keep in mind, though, that you’re most efficient when you’re awake and alert, so try to avoid burning the midnight oil too much. Here’s a quick reference on best times of days to do essential business tasks:

  • Prospecting & Lead Generation - Deciding which businesses to reach out to using lead generating techniques and the Local Prospecting Tool. (Can be done anytime day or night)
  • Outbound Sales - Reaching out to prospects either in-person or on the phone. (Best done during normal business hours - generally 9am - 7pm)
  • Follow-ups - Following up with prospects via email, text, cell phone, Facebook Messenger, etc. (Best done during waking hours - generally 8am - 9pm)
  • Building Websites - Creating new demo sites for prospects as well as making updates to existing client websites. (Super flexible - anytime day or night)
  • Accounting & Administration - Managing finances, sending out invoices, or updating credit cards with our Client Billing feature. (Anytime day or night)
  • Marketing: Promoting your web design business using social media, scheduling email blasts, writing blog articles, running Google or Facebook ads, etc. (Depending on the type, most can be done anytime day or night)

3. Set Realistic Goals

Let’s face the facts: no matter how much time you devote to website sales, and how much preparation you’ve done, you’re probably not going to sell 100 websites in your first month. Any new business, regardless of the industry it’s in, needs time to establish itself, find its footing, and grow at a reasonable pace. Blasting off like a rocket ship is virtually unheard of, and not very sustainable, so make sure you don’t set your expectations too high.

Your first few months as a web designer will likely be spent familiarizing yourself with the process of building and selling websites, making connections, and establishing your brand in the community. Business owners who are operating under less self-imposed pressure tend to grow more steadily, healthily, and efficiently. Especially if you’re only doing this part-time to start, you won’t even be able to handle taking on a huge number of clients in your first months. You’ll want to take extra time to ensure that your first 5 clients are on-boarded with extra care so that you establish a positive reputation for yourself. Remember, you’re charging a setup fee and a monthly fee for each site, so even selling one site in your first 3 months can put your business in the black. In fact, selling just a handful of websites in your first year can put you into profitability. Success doesn’t like to be rushed!

4. Think Long-Term

If you’re looking to start a business with residual income, like web design offers, then you probably haven’t succumb to the mindset of getting rich quick. Remember: every “overnight success” story usually leaves out the years of planning and preparation that led up to that night. Plus, time flies when you’re having fun – and web design is a lot fun – so your success might feel like it happened overnight anyway! But either way, you should always have your sights set on the long-term potential.

When running a web design business part-time, keep your eyes down the road, and focus on the future. Every single website client you take on, no matter how long it takes you to acquire them, is likely to be with you for a very long time, paying you month after month, year after year, for their website services. The lifetime value and earning potential from each of your website clients is huge. And since there is generally very little maintenance required on your part for each of your web design clients, you won’t get bogged down managing each client. As soon as you land one client, you can easily focus your energy on taking on the next one. The business model that SiteSwan revolves around is focused on scalability, and the long-term residuals from lots of customers – not just a few. With SiteSwan, you have the tools to grow and expand your web design business exponentially, even if you're running your business part-time.

5. Hire Help

While working part-time as a web designer means you have limited hours to devote to your business, it doesn’t mean that you have to be doing all the work yourself. You can multiply your productivity by using your part-time hours to manage other people who you hire. Almost any salesperson can sell a website to a small business who desperately needs one, and many will work on a commission-only incentive. That means you only pay for their performance. Since you’re charging an upfront fee plus a monthly recurring fee for each site, you can offer a percentage of the upfront fee to the salesperson for each site they bring in.

But don’t think you’re limited to just hiring a salesperson, because designers can be very affordable to hire as well. Certainly building out a simple demo site to show to a customer is something you could do yourself in just a minute or two on SiteSwan using our Themes. However, building more robust sites, or offering more custom designs, can take a couple of hours and may not be worth your time doing yourself. Hiring a designer can free up your time so you can focus on more important tasks like sales and marketing your business. You can find a freelance designer on job sites like Craigslist or even Fiverr. Designers will often agree to be paid on a per-project basis, which, if the site is already sold, makes it a risk-free investment and a sure-fire way to cover your costs.

6. Don’t Bite off More than You Can Chew

It might be tempting for you to say ‘YES’ to every website opportunity that comes across your plate. However, especially when you’re only devoting part-time hours to a web design business, it’s important you’re focused on the ideal client and delivering only the services that you feel comfortable offering. Remember, simple, informational, lead-generating websites for small businesses are exactly what the SiteSwan platform was designed for. Focus on privately-owned businesses who can make quick decisions, and those whose needs do not extend into advanced e-commerce sites or complex configurations. If someone's looking to build the next Amazon.com, for example, that's not the type of client you want to take on. The perfect client is a typical mom and pop business that needs 5 to 10 pages of content, a primary call to action, an attractive and effective design, and reliable hosting with friendly, responsive customer support. Get laser-focused on what you’re offering and don’t take on any work that falls outside of what you are certain you can deliver quickly.

7. Get Started Right Away

Devoting part-time hours means that you don’t have time to waste. As soon as you make the decision to launch your own web design agency, follow through with it and always be prepared to take the next step. Getting your web design business off the ground will take time, so don’t hesitate to start doing. Do something – anything – so long as you’re moving forward. You cannot expect your clients to come to you, and you should not wait for things to happen in your business without you making them happen.

When you start a web design business using SiteSwan, we offer you step-by-step instructions for getting your marketing site off the ground, understanding the sales process, how to begin prospecting, and assembling your collateral so you can start selling websites right away. Also, our weekly Getting Started webinars are designed to help you do just that – get started right away.

8. Use the Right Web Design Software

Starting a web design business part-time is totally doable, but there’s a big “if”: if you’re using the right web design software. SiteSwan gives you everything you need to start, grow, and run a web design business without any prior experience or knowledge. If you come to the table with sales or design experience – great! But our interactive training, ongoing support, vast array of marketing resources, and intuitive controls built around scalability, are designed to make anyone feel like they have everything they need to start building and selling websites for small businesses immediately. If you’re trying to launch a web design business part-time, you need to make sure you have the right system so that you can get up to speed quickly, and not waste your first couple months trying to figure out the technology. SiteSwan is simple, affordable, and even has features like Prospecting and Client Billing built in – so everything from finding potential clients, to pitching them, to building the site, to hosting and maintaining the site, to charging them for it, is done right from within the SiteSwan dashboard.

Just because you want to start a business, don’t feel like it has to be a full-time commitment or take away from what you're currently doing. The idea of making web design a full-time business is a choice you can make down the line, and starting off part-time is totally doable, and frankly, quite logical. If you’re not ready to quit your day job or jump in with two feet, then wade into the waters of web design with SiteSwan, follow our suggestions, and have fun selling websites to small businesses part-time, on your time, when you want, and how you want. We’re committed to helping you enjoy starting a web design business with SiteSwan!


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