Way back in March, I wondered whether it was good idea or not to start a web design/development business. Was there room for yet another one of these on the Internets? I didn't really find a good answer to that, but in all fairness it had been a somewhat rhetorical question. By June I was claiming to be "full speed ahead" and in July we were nearly open for business. We had a name, a website, had become an incorporated Limited Liability Corporation, and had even spoken with an accountant to ensure we got all of the small business tax breaks possible.
But here's the thing: I didn't really expect much business at first. I figured we'd putz around, working on our website, designing forms and dreaming up marketing campaigns. I could do more research on web design and software ... I just thought there'd be lots of time.
Like many, many things in life, it hasn't worked out according to plan. We've actually been much busier than I expected. First we did a few sites for free, to build up a portfolio. Then a woman in my writing group needed her nonprofit's site to be overhauled, and she hired us. (Our first paying client!) Then a student of a co-worker of a friend wanted consulting help with learning how to blog, which I happen to have a bit of experience in;) And then the nonprofit director who liked our work recommended us to others, who called to ask for quotes ....
Not all of these potential clients are going to turn into real business. I know this. But even so, it's moving much faster than I had anticipated. We haven't even managed to finish our site yet, because we've been so busy working on others'! Don't get me wrong: I know this is a good problem to have. I have been very pleasantly surprised and shocked at what a quick reaction we've gotten. I think that answers my original question: can the market sustain one more small web design/development business?
But, being me, I can't ever be purely happy about something. Joy is always a little tinged with sadness, because I am human and constantly yearning for what I don't have. It's wonderful that our side business is actually taking off. I can now say "We're starting our own business," with a straight face, and actually believe it.
I kinda miss reading, though. I like to read. And to knit. And write. And to do other things that don't contribute to the bottom line. Maybe this just means that I'll be satisfied if our business continues to grow ... and secretly pleased if it drops off a bit, and I get more time to myself. So I'm never entirely happy, but I'm never entirely unhappy either.