Skilled web developers and designers are in high demand right now, and webdev work for the right client can pay big. This is why so many web developers have stopped working for big design firms to start their own businesses or freelance out of home offices, apartments and co-working spaces.
Growing a company from your home office and without dedicated meeting space means you’ll need to use different strategies to keep in touch with potential clients.
No matter what kind of resources or professional network you have, it’s definitely possible to grow a web development company from a home office. The right marketing and communication strategies will be essential for success.
Prepping the Home Office
To start, you’ll need to make sure your home office is fit to act as your business headquarters. Every home office needs a few of the same things, like a business computer, monitor and an ergonomic office chair. Other investments will prepare your home office for the demands of independent web development work.
With the rise in online meetings, it’s likely that most of your client meetings will happen over the web, rather than face-to-face.
This means that you will need an excellent home video conferencing setup. Video and audio quality can both have a serious impact on how you come across during a call. A high-quality microphone and webcam can both help.
A high-speed internet connection is also a must for both video conferencing and day-to-day work.
Server space is a good investment and will be necessary for your business website and online portfolio.
Your work computer should be powerful enough to handle all the work you want to perform in-house.
You’ll also want a suite of basic home office computer accessories, including a printer and scanner. These tools are essential for when you need to handle or sign important documents, like invoices or contracts.
If you’re designing and editing graphics yourself, you’ll also need to invest in graphic design software
Decor, like plants and posters, won’t be necessary but can help make your home office experience much more enjoyable. You’ll probably be spending around eight hours a day in your home office. Creating a workspace that you want to spend time in is just as important a consideration as stocking it with the right office supplies and accessories.
Everyone you work with will need a similar home set-up. Depending on the size of your business, this may mean choosing partners who have the right tools, vetting contractors to make sure they have a functional workspace or even providing computer equipment to employees as needed.
You should also think about sound, and how noise may impact your ability to work and collaborate. For example, noise from the apartment over or your neighbor’s lawn mower isn’t in your control, but it can make you seem much less professional.
Office soundproofing can be a good way to ensure that you’ll always have the peace and quiet you need to work or meet with a client.
If you share your home with another freelancer or remote worker, soundproofing can also allow both of you to use your workspaces at the same time — without the risk of disrupting the other with a call or other noise.
Finding Clients and Growing Your Audience
Finding the first client is typically the hardest part of getting started for a new web development company.
Most new business owners start looking for clients by reaching out to their network. If you’re already a well-established web developer, you likely have contacts that may have leads on development projects or contract work.
Job boards and marketplaces are also good places to start. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are where companies will go to solicit web development services if they don’t have a lead on a web developer. The competition on these sites can be fierce, however, and identifying high-quality leads can be tricky.
Once you’ve secured one client, it typically becomes easier to move forward.
Existing clients often help a business acquire additional work. Word of mouth, case studies and testimonials will all encourage people who network with your clients to seek out your services. Using previous clients as an anchor for future work can also be effective — in some cases, clients will be happy to reach out to people they know to recommend your services.
Essential Marketing Strategies and Generating More Leads
While existing contacts will help you find some clients, it’s likely that you’ll have to reach people outside your current network. To do this, you’ll need to generate leads.
Online marketing will be essential to generating these leads, as well as building your brand and growing your audience. While casting a wide net isn’t as important for your business as it would be a B2C business, reaching as many people as possible will help ensure that interested clients see your work.
Several approaches will work well for web developers wanting to build a following. They can help you get more eyes on your work and attract potential clients.
Social media, content marketing, PPC ads are all critical strategies to employ when expanding your business’s reach.
Content marketing will help you increase the organic traffic that your site receives by creating valuable and relevant content that will appear in Google searches. Social media helps you network with others in your industry and find new clients and opportunities. PPC ads will drive visitors to specific landing pages that you can use to advertise services and convert leads.
Content is also effective because it can help you create what’s called a lead magnet.
For example, one web developer may create a free brochure or guide about best practices for developing websites for a particular kind of client. They offer this guide in PDF form on their website and require visitors to provide their email to access the content.
This generates leads that they can follow up on, helping ensure that they can reach people outside of their network with email advertising or similar marketing techniques.
Other lead generation strategies, like a newsletter, can help you to further expand your business’s reach. Using these strategies, you can always have a base of potentially interested leads that you can nurture with targeted email marketing and similar strategies.
With a steady stream of potential clients to choose from, you won’t have to worry about wasting time without a project to work on.
Building Your Business Website
Your business website is the center of your online marketing and branding efforts. This site will host your portfolio, testimonials, case studies, rates and other essential information about your business. It will also be where you link out to social media profiles and provide contact info so that clients can get in touch.
The business website is also where you will direct potential clients from ads and emails, meaning that effective navigation and site design are necessary if you want to create successful email marketing and PPC ad campaigns.
Because you’re a web developer, the quality of your site will also act as the introduction to your work for many people. It’s a great opportunity to show off your skills and do some brand-building.
Client Communication and Follow-Through for Long-Term Success
B2B businesses, like web development companies, are especially dependent on customer loyalty. Repeat clients often drive a lot of a designer’s income. They’ll also help you to expand your network and your audience, allowing you to find new clients that will grow your business.
Effective customer service can mean many different things for a web developer. Some days, it may mean responding quickly to client questions or inquiries. Other days, it may mean remaining open to revisions and collaborating with your client. It may also mean offering advice and providing technical expertise when asked.
Knowing the best practices for client communication will help you develop scripts and strategies for providing high-quality service while still valuing your time and your work. Blocking out time for reporting to clients each week will also help you ensure that you keep them in the loop.
Following up after a project is completed is also important. Keeping in touch will help you leave a positive impression in your client’s mind. Positive impressions help reinforce brand recognition and encourage clients to recommend your services to others.
Also, not every client will pay right away or according to the payment schedule you’ve both agreed to. To stay in touch and ensure you get paid for the work you do, you should plan to follow up after a project is completed.
When developing your business and marketing plans, it’s also worth thinking about what kind of brand values you want to embody. Many small business owners and solopreneurs make customer service and communication a top priority in their branding and day-to-day work. Considering your brand values may help you to develop more effective communication practices.
Long-Term Strategies for Web Development Business Growth
With the right approach, it’s possible to build a successful web development business from a home office. A network of potential clients, a lead generating and marketing strategy and an effective business website will all be critical factors in the business’s success.
For the small business owners or solopreneurs that want to grow a business from their home office, the right home office supplies will also be essential. Video conferencing gear, soundproofing, office accessories and decor can all help make daily work easier and communication with clients more straightforward.