You’d be surprised at how low web design business startup costs can be. In this post Kristen from Kristen Leigh guides you through her business expenses so you can start your own web design business with confidence.
Back in the day I used to write monthly business updates that gave you a glimpse into not only what I was working on in my business but also my monthly revenue and expenses. Honestly, they were a freakin’ pain in the ass to pull together which is why one day, out of nowhere, I just stopped.
Side note: Take that as permission to drop something in your business that is more of a hassle than it is a benefit to you. It’s not worth it to be stressed.
When you first get the idea to launch an online business your mind runs through a series of questions. What will I offer for services? How do I go about creating a business? What web design business startup costs do I need to be aware of? Will this new venture require me to sell my plasma so I can afford it? You know… typical, rational questions like those.
To answer your questions:
- You should offer web design as a service because it’s one of the quickest ways to start making money online
- In most of the US you can start offering services as a solopreneur without registering your business with the state you live in (just as long as you pay taxes on that money earned!)
- Your new online business venture will not require you to sell any of your body parts in order to cover the costs
One thing those monthly revenue and expense blog posts showed was just how inexpensive it is to start an online business. I actually went through my finance tracker (I love a good Google sheet version as opposed to Quickbooks) and documented all of the business expenses I incurred during the first year so you can see exactly what I spent money on and why.
Your web design business startup costs can be broken down into 3 different categories: monthly, yearly, and one-time payments.
Graphic Design Platform
As a web designer I always encourage aspiring web designers to treat designing a website separately from building a website. That means, having a graphic design tool is imperative to launching a successful web design business. For me, I started off with Canva, switched to Adobe Creative Suite for Illustrator, and then somehow ended up with both. For you though, as a new web designer, just choose one!
- Canva – $12.95 / month
- Adobe Creative Suite – $24.99 / month (as a student, you get a discounted rate of $16.99 per month for the first year)
Technically you don’t need Gsuite and could very easily get by by integrating your professional email address with your personal Gmail account. For me, that was too confusing so I purchased Gsuite to simplify things.
- Gsuite – $10.63 / month (this cost is dependent on usage and the price has gone up since my first year in business by about $2 / month)
The best portfolio piece you can have as a web designer is your own website. That’s why it’s important to design and build your own website when you first launch your business.
- Domain via Godaddy – $25.16
- Hosting via Siteground – $67.20 / year for the Startup plan
Included in the process of converting a lead into a paying client is typically a free discovery call or consultation. To schedule those calls you’ll need a scheduler tool like Calendly.
- Calendly – $96 (Calendly does have a free plan that allows for one type of appointment to be scheduled. If you needed to be able to book discovery calls and calls with your current clients, that would be two different types of appointments and therefore you’d need the paid plan.)
One Time Expense
I knew early on in my business that I wanted to only design Divi WordPress websites so making the decision to invest in Divi’s lifetime plan was a no brainer. (Purchasing the Divi lifetime plan is actually the easiest way to start a web design business using WordPress.)
- Divi – $249
Your branding costs can vary depending on the route you take. If you choose to design your branding yourself, the cost would obviously be zero. The route I took was working with a new brand specialist that actually told me I didn’t need to pay her at all since she was looking for experience. However! When I say I teach my students not to do work for free, I actually live by that and never expect anyone I work with to work for free either.
- Logo – $50
- Font – $10
The quickest way to launch and grow your web design business is to invest in a course that teaches you the skills you need to build high converting websites and launch a profitable web design business. Now when I first launched my business I didn’t realize web design was the right path for me so I ended up investing in basic virtual assistant courses for a total of $791.
There are a lot of tools out there that are totally free – take advantage of that! Below is a list of free tools I used when I first started my business.
- Stripe (Payment Processor)
- PayPal (Payment Processor)
- Unsplash (Stock Photography)
- Pexels (Stock Photography)
- Mailerlite (Email Marketing)
- Asana (Project Management System)
- Wave (Accounting)
If you do the math, I had roughly $1,571 in web design business startup costs for an entire year. That’s really not that much! Remove the one-time expenses like Divi and the online courses I invested in and that leaves $471 worth of expenses that are broken down over 12 months ($39 / month). I mean… c’mon. Name another type of business that is that inexpensive to start.
I also want to mention that you don’t have to invest in an online course. I chose to do that because I knew I wanted to jumpstart my success as quickly as possible. You can definitely forego enrolling in online courses and figure it out for yourself. It might take you a bit longer to see a profit large enough to be able to quit your 9-5 but that’s a decision you get to make.