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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist Scott.Botkins's Avatar
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    What's a Good Website & Web Design Salary?

    Hello Guys,

    Alright, I've been doing websites now for almost 7 years. I'm turning 20 in few months and I want to keep this job as my career because I love every second of it. Right now I'm building a big network of websites but not from scratch, I already have a community with almost 3000 members to work with. I'm opening a lot of content websites to make money from advertising and other such things as like I have a contract with pricegrabber and I plan to do other things as well. I also started a web design business 2 months ago which I only put in a few hours each week and I've made a few grand. Everything that I'm doing is going to take me until about jan 1st to get all setup, from there I plan to start working any where from 6-10 hours a day, I already have business cards made for web design company and in my area (cincinnati,ohio) there isn't many web design company's at all which means business should go well just in my area.

    What I'm wondering is how much is possible from all of this? I want to make it a living and try to shoot for $50k a year because that's plenty for myself, I believe I can do this as I'm able to design and create anything possible for myself or a client as in the past 7 years I've spent my childhood 8-10+ hours a day building websites, at one time I owned 30 dot com's but realized it was just dumb to own so much. So will I be able to reach my goal of $50k+ a year long as I work hard and market very well?

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Hey Scott,

    Quote Originally Posted by shockbotkins
    So will I be able to reach my goal of $50k+ a year long as I work hard and market very well?
    YES! depending on how you implement the 2 words I emphasized.

    You seem to have passion and experience- that's great! I'd suggest creating a formal business plan to keep you on track.

    -Costas

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot Trevelyan's Avatar
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    I think you can achieve your goal. Just keep working hard and you'll eventually get there. You're already on the right track.

  4. #4
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    Possible? Sure!
    Going to happen? Not guaranteed!

    As with anything, being good as what you do is only half the work. Even the most amazing coder will not last as a freelancer if they can not market and manage themselves properly.

    I've seen some pretty piss-poor programmers/designers do decently financially because they knew how to handle the business side of things.

    If you are serious about this, i would look at what you would need to actually run a legal business. Time management, project management, accounting. The processes you choose for your business can either make or break you.

    Also for your first year, don't focus so much on making money as breaking even and setting up your business. If you have a firm foundation you will last longer then the 'web design companies' that start up and burn out in a blaze of glory because they can't handle themselves.

  5. #5
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    beley's Avatar
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    Well, one thing I've learned in the past 6 years is what this business really isn't about. That's web design.

    Sound funny? Seriously, the web design industry (and every other industry) is about marketing. Marketing you, marketing your services, marketing your solutions. You can be a world-class web designer, do great in a job, and suck at running a web design business. Similarly, you can be mediocore at web design and be swamped with work all the time.

    It's good that you've already acknowledged that you need to market yourself. Just plan on doing much more work getting and keeping the business than actually designing websites.

    Also, was the $50k a year gross or net? Don't underestimate your expenses... even if you work from home you will need a good computer, updated software, nice clothes for client meetings, a nice vehicle (yes, it matters if you show up to a meeting in a Pinto), etc. The expenses add up. Make sure you account for all of them when you figure what you need your revenues to be.

    Is it possible? Oh yeah. Making $50k a year is very possible. Making $200k a year is possible. You just have to network, network and network. Also be prepared to outsource and subcontract, because as you get busier most of your time will be spent meeting with potential customers, preparing proposals, fielding communication, etc. That's where I am at now... I worked all day today and never touched a client project or wrote a line of code. It's nice in a way, but also a little frustrating if that's why you're in the busienss to begin with.

    Some people go in business because they love what they do, others do it because they love being in business for themselves. Inevitably the former get burned out because they end up spending 90% of the time doing mundane, even dreaded, everyday tasks... payroll, bills, accounting, sales, marketing, proposals, etc.

    The latter are like me. I own several completely different businesses. I love being in business for myself. I like sales and marketing... even doing mundane stuff. I love to code and design, don't get me wrong, but if I can't do that anymore I won't be upset either... it's just the natural progression of things.

    So think about that when you go into business for yourself. If you just want to design or code, you may be better off just trying to get a job with a web design company in your area. If you really want to grow your business and make $50k+ a year, you'll have to be a business owner, not a technician.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Charge what your time is worth!

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist Scott.Botkins's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input guys. I think mostly it's just me that needs to just do it and not wonder if I can or not. I believe in myself that I can, we all have the ability to do anything we want. I'll do my best to just have fun with it and let my actions speak for themselves.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru Amirsan's Avatar
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    All the previous posts were great, but I think you need a solid answer on how to figure out an hourly rate, and I myself used the following article:

    http://graphicdesign.about.com/libra.../aa092702a.htm

    its a straightfoward formula, where you start with how much salary per year you want to make, which is what you know so far, and then you follow the steps in order to find out exactly how much your going to charge your customers for their work.

    Let me know if it helps.
    Strategic Command Center

    "What's a small napoleon and where would i find one"

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist Scott.Botkins's Avatar
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    Thanks that was a good article. My current plan is to try and make about $200-$250 a day. I was making that in 2 days when I first started my web design business but right now I'm taking a break to open about 5-6 websites I want to get open then I'm going back to that business full time for about 5 hours a day then 3-4 on my other websites. Seeing how I'm working from home, I'll prolly put in 8-10 hours a day from 9am-6pm most likely maybe little less or little more. So I'm pretty sure I can achieve the $50k a year, it will just take me to work hard and focus.

  10. #10
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Scott - You certainly seem to be approaching things with the right mentality. The fact that you are attempting to find the right rate, and that you are ready to do some serious marketing will really help your chances of success. Good luck!!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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