Quesitons for Start Up Web and Graphic Design Business

Hello. Sorry I also posted this post on “Get Started” forum, but found this one is the right place to ask. :slight_smile:

I am about to launch my freelancing business after 10 years of experience. Before I deal with clients, I like to ask you what I might need to make work more easier:

1.) Is there a software or suggestion on how to set up a site where clients can view their website working in process?

2.) What is the best invoice/billing software? Freshbooks, quickbooks, etc.?

3.) Where can I find a good real proposal/invoice/contract package? I think there are one on graphicrivers: http://graphicriver.net/item/gd-real-proposal-01-invoice-contract/1630524?WT.oss_phrase=proposal%20real&WT.oss_rank=1&WT.z_author=Draguta&WT.ac=search_thumb

But there should be more?

4.) Should I try to do few gigs with Fiverrs or maybe craigslist? Pro or Cons?

Thanks for your suggestions in advance!


Let me address your point nr. 4) immediately: no, you should not want to have anything to do with sites like Fiverr (here’s what’s really going on on Fiverr, you don’t want to be associated with deception and theft). You and Fiverr should not be mentioned in the same sentence, ever. You just said that you have 10 years experience working in the industry. Imagine if you were an anesthesiologist, or a lawyer, with 10 years experience, starting a new business: would you go look for $5 gigs? You would not. Cheap gigs will only help you build a harmful attitude toward pricing, clients, and how a web design business should be organized and your work billed.

There was a similar question on Quora the other day, a guy starting a new agency was asking what he should do first, you can read my reply to him if you want (I told him to first find clients who pay monthly):

And if you’re looking for clients, there have been discussions about that here on Sitepoint too: How are you growing your freelance work? - I replied to it, and even turned my answer to a fully blown blog post.

1 Like

Honestly, these are strange questions for someone with 10 years experience. I suggest you leverage every connection you’ve made in the last decade - bosses, clients, coworkers, friends - and start there.

That being said:

Just setup a subdomain on your website with a folder for each client. Though I wouldn’t show them the link to it until your completely finished because then you’re just asking for project creep. Clients don’t understand that something is work-in-progress or that certain things don’t actually take a long time to do - they just see broken or missing features.

Hell no on the first one. If you’re serious about starting your business…start your business. You have to start getting in the habit of quantifying things not on their immediate return but on their longterm return as well. The time you spent building or designing that Fiverr work could have been spent doing real marketting with a return much greater than monetary - ie clients and leads.

Craigslist on the other hand is an awesome tool to use. I would use SearchTempest though as it lets you search wider areas. Don’t do anything for free, ever, but be aware that - at least in my experience - you’re not going to find really high paying work on there. Still, keep an eye out for ad and marketing agencies as they tend to provide steady work.

I will read it. Thank you. :smile:

Good advice, Labofoz.

  1. Same suggestion as the others - a subdomain or subfolder of some kind works fine. I never let clients see my work until it’s at a milestone pre-agreed on or it’s “done” and ready for a round of revisions, though.

  2. As mentioned other places - I use Xero due to its additional capacity as actual accounting software, more akin IMO to an easier to use Quickbooks. If you JUST want invoicing and maybe time tracking, Freshbooks and Harvest are an awesome place to start too.

  3. Fiverrs - no. Previous replies cover it. Craigslist… feel free to look.

You need to come up with a valuation for what your time is worth and not bend it. I made the mistake of doing a lot of cheap work when I started “because I had the time and needed anything at all for income” - but instead of spending all your time treading water with say, $5/hr jobs, what if you could instead spend half that time looking, and then come up with a $40/hr job! (Pulled those numbers out of nowhere, but you get what I mean - spend some time and think about what number covers both the work - and the searching for work).

Hope any of that helps. Good luck to you!

Thanks, Jeffreylees, for your input.

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.