When is the right time to start a web design business? Not sure if you're making the right decision to venture out on your own? I promise you, I've been there. It is tough trying to grapple with the notion of dealing with a decision that will drastically change the course of your life, and not knowing what your decision to say 'yes' will eventually lead to. I found myself in this exact position not too long ago...
I had worked hard to climb up to a position in a company that I had initially gifted my heart and sould to - working extra hours, even on the GO train there and back, putting in 110% effort in everything I did, trying to be the beacon of positivity within the office, and even working on projects at home despite receiving no additional recognition or compensation. To say I LOVED the brand I was working for was an understatement. At the time, I thought there was nothing that would shake my loyalty.
But as time went on, I found some of my skills being utilized far greater than others, and that eventually led to me working much more cloesly with the company's CEO, whom also developed projects other than the restaurant company I was working for at the time. Things seemed to plateau for an oddly long time, until I discovered that the company was starting to turn sour - and fast. Suddenly, all of the lies, deceit, manipulation, and a whole host of unethical behaviour started being unearthed. Some things that I had to bury down and accept as being "they way things are" simply because I had no power to change them, and some things were a shock even to me.
Web Design had always been a topic of sincere joy in my life, and a growing passion. Even in this period of negative discovery, day-dreaming of the business I would one day build always seemed to brighten my spirits. I tried to make the worlds most poorly-kept secret that I loved web design and was looking for potential side projects.
But I wouldn't pull the trigger. And here's why...
I know what some of you may be thinking. No CEOs were harmed in the making of this true story, I promise! I wouldn't pull the trigger until the safety net was pulled from underneath me. The working environment at the company in this story got so toxic - even permeating down to the store level - that it was ever increasingly clear that my life would only amount to continued agony if I stayed. I believe in the principles of respect, dignity, and integrity, and I knew that I wanted to build those things in my own company (having seen what a company lacking them looks like) but it wasn't until I left myself with no other option than to build a business for myself that I was finally able to change my mindset and start developing my future success.
If you love your current job, then don't start your own company. Not unless you have a tremendous amount of support from friends and family, and are financially stable enough to last 6-12 months in what some would call "pre-revenue"... a nasty term simply meaning, "there's no money to support your family here". I turn and run from people who try to offer me jobs at companies that are "pre-revenue" - but that's another article altogether that I imagine you don't have time to read about. No, if you are comfortable where you are, stay comfortable where you are.
There were days at the beginning when I would wake up with an immediate rush of anxiety, thinking about "What have I done?", "What have I gotten myself into?", "What happens if I fail?", and the truth is, I needed to feel that fear. I needed to know that failure was a possibility.
And I failed too. A lot.
But that's where I learned. If you are not satisfied with your current career trajectory, starting your own company isn't a fast fix for your problems, but you will love the control you suddenly have over your own life. But you only get to cherish that control by making mistakes. Go ahead! Make lots of mistakes, and make sure you're learning from each one of them. When I started out, I discovered that my blog content wasn't really getting a lot of traffic, and when it was getting traffic, people weren't that interested enough to read an entire article. But this failure inspired me to seek out how to keep visitors engaged in my content. And then Brian Dean taught me something cool: Bucket Brigades. Now, I'm a talkative guy as I'm sure you can see. But this changed my perspective on the content I was writing, and the articles that I implemented Bucket Brigades with saw longer read times. And if you clicked on the link and read up on Bucket Brigades, you'll also recognize that I used them twice in this article. Boom goes the dynamite... Failure + Learning = Success.
If you haven't caught on to where I'm going with this article, then let's cut to the chase right now. If you don't doubt your passion for web design now, if you know that your happiness level will be more than twice what it is now, and you have the skills to pump out a website now, then don't start your web design business tomorrow. Start now! I had no one to coach me or give me feedback on my new venture, no one to bounce ideas off of, and no one to simply vent about projects that were a waste of my time. You do. If you ever want to talk to someone about web design, want to ask them questions like whether or not you may have the skills to build a web design business or just want to blurt out your latest frustration, I hope you'll send me an email! Not everyone is ready to start their own business, but in almost all cases, groups of like-minded individuals can accomplish things much greater than any of them could ever do themselves!
1. Welcome the chance to fail. Then learn from each chance you get. 2. Be critical of your skills. Accept the limits of your knowledge and build learning into your daily life. 3. Fake it 'till you make it. Confidence is contagious, and the more you tell yourself you can do it, the more you'll believe it too. 4. If a prospect doesn't want a website, you won't be able to convince them otherwise. Accept early on that not everyone will know they need your work. 5. Don't completely throw out the concept of work-life balance. Accept that you're likely only going to be ultimately productive 5-6 hours of the day. 6. You don't have to do everything yourself. Most companies don't want someone to reinvent the wheel for them. They just want a quality website. 7. Discount your services at the beginning only if you must, but give yourself a deadline for honouring your work ethic with proper compensation.
Don't wait for someone to give you permission to be successful. No one will ever give you permission. You have to decide for yourself that success is what you want. What you want that sucess to look like is first moulded by your determination to make it happen. And finally, take risks. Read a couple articles from one of my new favourite blogs, written by Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, and take a risk on believing in yourself!