My interest in web design started many years ago. I started building websites for my friends and things grew from there. The trouble is that I wasn’t making money. Not a lot of it, anyway. I always looked for ways to give people a break and save them money while giving them the site they needed. I worked with client budgets instead of setting prices and sticking to them.
I know now that this is a guaranteed recipe for failure. In working with some new (and extremely successful) business partners lately, I’ve come to realize that making money at your craft isn’t a particularly complicated or difficult proposition, but there are a few things that you can’t bend on:
1) Be the best (or at least very good) at what you do.
2) Set high prices and charge a lot of money for being the best.
Although this is exceedingly simple, I’ve been guilty of violating these rules. I don’t have prices listed anywhere. I negotiate on rates that I do quote. I help friends who need it. What’s paradoxical about this is that these projects end up taking the longest and causing the most headache. Some of the biggest contracts I’ve landed were for sites that have been turned around very quickly – sometimes over the course of a weekend. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the way to make money is simpler and less stressful than the path that’s fraught with fail.
This needs to be said as well: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking on projects to help clients that have a genuine need for your services; I think that helping those in need is both important and fulfilling. Projects like that can’t comprise the bulk of what you do however, unless the margins on your other projects are such that these losses are negligible. If this is the case, please hire me immediately (joke).