Why you should stop calling yourself a web designer

Andrew Neitlich
Andrew Neitlich

Why call yourself a web designer if you can make more money calling yourself something else? I suppose my business is web design and development, or at least that is a part of what I do. But I don’t call myself that. Nor do I structure my business arrangements like a typical web designer/developer.

There are only two ways I do business:

1. As a marketing consultant. Lots of what you do is marketing, right? Why not figure out a way to provide clients with a complete marketing solution? For instance, right now I’m working as a marketing consultant to a healthcare group. I write letters for them. I have created a marketing strategy for them. And I’ve developed a web site for them (at a pass-through cost of about $300). The website represents 1/35th of my total fees. Why? Because I’ve broadened my solution. You can do the same. As a marketing consultant, you can earn a lot more.

2. As a web publisher. For many professionals, I design their website for free. I even write books for them. In some cases, I hire a video professional to videotape them during lectures or demonstrating their expertise. I put up all of the money. Why? Because I get 90% of the sales. Many professionals appreciate the marketing exposure they get from this arrangement. And I get all the upside and am willing to take the downside.

That’s putting my money where my mouth is. I am willing to take a small financial risk in return for upside, because I know I can make more money that way. Plus, I end up owning the sites and content sold on those sites, the way a publisher owns a book. So I build up an asset with long-term value.

Why work for an hourly rate if you can have a business model based on value (#1) or equity ownership (#2)?

The above blog may be provocative to some of you, and frankly I doubt many of you will go ahead and make the transition to the above based on this blog, but at least consider the concepts here.