Building a web design business takes effort, time, and loads of TLC. If you’d like to be successful then you need a good role model. There are many successful web designers and developers out there you can craft your business after.
Find a mentor
I recommend finding a mentor to begin molding your business after. Am I suggesting copying them? No. What I am suggesting is that you take the time to really evaluate what it is you’d like to accomplish and then see who has accomplished things like that already. If you want to take your business into full time freelance, then find a full time freelancer. If your goal is to develop your own web agency, then find someone who’s running one.
What do you do once you’ve found them?
I believe this is the most critical step of all. Once you’ve found someone that fits exactly what you and your business need then it is up to you to contact them. I say this is the most critical step of all, because what I’m telling you to do is to contact them. That can be via phone, email, twitter, or even good old fashion mail. You need to open up the communication between yourself and your targeted mentor. Before you start objecting and giving excuses like, “I don’t want to bother them,” “I’m not good at networking,” or “I don’t know what to say to them” give me a chance to help you out.
It will not be a bother to them, you don’t have to be a master networker, and it’s very easy what you want to say. Let’s work in reverse order and tackle the what to say part. Here are a few things you’d like to include when contacting them:
- Who you are.
- Why you are contacting them. Yes be specific and tell them exactly why you’re contacting them.
- Why you’ve chosen them.
- Ask for additional contact information and their permission to contact them further. You are looking to develop a relationship with someone and email, instant messenger, skype, twitter, and etc.. are going to be very valuable to you — so ask for it.
The most critical step of contacting them is actually the easiest. If you contact them and get no reply (which is doubtful) then you have lost nothing. You’re out nothing and then you simply go to the next possible mentor on your list. Working through this process will actually improve your networking skills which I’ve already mentioned is key.
Additional reading: 7 tips for power networking & Master the art of business card networking in 4 easy steps
Listen to their advice
Lastly, listen to what they say. Look you’ve gone through the hard work of selecting someone and now contacting them. What they have to say, despite how odd it could sound, is worth it’s weight in gold. I can’t tell you how many odd things people I’ve contacted have said. But what I can tell you is that no matter how odd, they’re usually right. Just like your parents, the ones you thought didn’t know a thing growing up, who mysteriously get smarter once you get into your 20’s.