I made a lot of mistakes when I was first starting out. It didn’t help that I hadn’t INTENDED to start my own business. But there are a lot of things I could have done to make my first few years go a lot smoother.
I see designers and developers who have been “around” as long as I have, and who have less experience, but who grew their businesses much faster than I did. The reason why is because they were focused. They had more of a plan than “make great websites,” they thought through where they wanted to be and how to get there.
When I finally did implement a plan, my business started making money, I was less stressed out, I worked less, and I was much happier.
Don’t make the same mistake I did–get focused early and quickly.
A few days of planning can save you a few years of headache. Learn how and why you should focus your web design business.
What do you want to be known for?
If you could only be known for one thing, what would it be?
This is the thing you want people saying about you when you’re not in the room. This is what you want your name (or business name) to become synonymous with.
When people think of _____ they think of you.
What is it?
Choosing one thing to do, and to do well, will take your thousands of miles farther than trying to the person who does everything. Because when you do everything, no one understands what you do or who you are.
You can be known for anything, but you need to be specific. Your name, no matter how great you are, won’t become synonymous with the term “web designer” no matter how hard you try. It’s too general.
But could you be known as the best web designer for nutritionists?
Or the web designer who offers beautiful hand-lettered designs?
Maybe the developer who can make any website look great on mobile?
Or the best developer for feminine Genesis WordPress themes?
You could choose any one of these and own it. But it’s unlikely you’ll ever get known for all four.
Choose one thing. Do it well. Do it amazingly. Own it.
The focus will move you forward.
Why do you want to be known for it?
Now is the time to dig deep and figure out the WHY behind your focus. Is it fame? Money? Or because you’re truly passionate about your focus?
Focus without passion won’t last.
You’ll get bored, try something else, and then try something else. Your business and brand will become a hodgepodge of ideas and it will hard to undo and start over.
If you’re not 100% passionate about what you want to be known for–if you only want to be the best web designer for nutritionists because they’re rolling in money (are they? I don’t know), then you’ll burn out.
These kinds of WHY’s don’t fly:
- Because it’s good money
- Because it’s an easy market
- Because I don’t know what else to do
Your WHY needs to be strong. You need to be completely and utterly behind your why. You need to feel excited to wake up in the morning and work on becoming a better whatever-you-want-to-be every single day.
WHY’s that fly:
- Because I LOVE helping nutritionists reach people and improve their health
- Because I LOVE hand-lettering and could do it all day long
- Because I LOVE making websites accessible so people can share information
- Because I LOVE helping women create a space on the web they can call their own
It has to come from the heart, or it won’t last.
How will you get known?
Deciding your focus is only half the battle. Next, you have to make a plan to get there. We’ll be fleshing out a full business plan soon, but right now you need to think about how you’re going to become the best whatever-you-want-to-be-known-for you can be.
Will you practice every day?
Work only with clients who fit your goals (hint: yes)?
Will you create amazing infoproducts that help establish you as an authority?
Instagram behind-the-scenes photos that show your skills?
Brainstorm anything and everything you could do that will let people know who you are and what you’re (going to be) known for. No matter how crazy the idea, jot it down. Don’t stop until you have at least 25 things that will pull you forward.
You can’t be everything to everyone. Without focus, your business will confuse and disorient customers. Without a focus you’re passionate about you’ll lost interest and burn out.
You have to know what you want to be, and you have to be behind it, 100%.