Monday, March 19, 2007

Start-up Biz?

So, as my neglected New Year's Resolutions can attest, Keith and I have talked about starting our own business. It would be in web designing—I could create graphics and the text, and Keith would make it all work. I thought it seemed like a great use of our disparate talents.

But I've been wondering lately: do people still hire web designers? I mean, I'm sure large companies would, because they want specific graphics, unique functionalities, etc. But I think our target market would be the smaller, local businesses. The restaurant that wants to put their menu and hours online. The stay-at-home mom who's decided to open a daycare.

As I've been investigating, I've found a whole industry has sprung up that caters to these types of clients. Ones who are happy to use templates and clip art. They're not too particular about having a unique site; they just want something and they don't want to think about it too hard. And for a minimal price, these hosts offer them a package deal. Sure they don't get editing assistance or additional functionality, but do they care?

I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on this before I go to the work of setting up a business. Do you think there's still a need out there for smaller web design businesses? Or would people prefer to pay less for a pre-existing template?


Helen said...

Hi Meg,
Thisi is a subject near and dear to my heart. I wrestle with this a lot- "it will work, it won't work, there's too many others already out there" - How much will it cost to put the plan out there- is it prohibitive? And do you have a niche audience- like amybe musicians that want their own webpage to advertise- or a specialty business- I don't know- just thoughts!

cat said...

I can't speak with any authority, but based on stuff friends who own businesses have done, I can offer this. First off, most of the people I know who do Web design have tried the side business thing with varying degrees of success. Push-button publishing is probably easier than ever. As for people with Web sites, the motorcycle shop owner has a fancy graphics-heavy flash site and he has a big firm handle that because he doesn't want to bother with any of it (and I think he has adult content and other verification issues). The home-based businesses don't need or want very dynamic pages and can make do with Front Page. Friends in bands just post stuff on MySpace since that's were most of the audience is.

If you already have all the resources and materials (programs, etc.), then there is probably little financial risk to try freelancing. The biggest thing then would be getting your name out there and hunting clients. Good luck, whatever you decide to do!