Since I took a very different path to becoming a full-time freelance web designer, today I’m excited to welcome Kory Woodard to share her experience of starting a design business while she was still in college.
When I started college, I never would have guessed that when I graduated four years later I’d be running my own successful business and following the dream of working for myself. If you would have told me that was coming, I probably would have laughed at you, though, with my hardworking nature, I might have actually believed it.
I started my business in my second year of college, but there are so many things that I just didn’t learn from the system I was in. Here are just the top five…
How To Start / Run a Freelance Business
If I had to pick out the main thing I didn’t learn in college, it would be how to start and run a freelance business. I started my little business while in school, but I was learning from my peers and those I looked up to on the internet. I didn’t learn how to actually start a business – you know like what, if any, paperwork I needed to fill out. Nor did I learn how to run a business – like how to file taxes, what copyright had to do with my business, or that contracts were vital.
How To Get Clients
Getting clients is something that I think we all struggle with, and it’s something I really had to just hustle at because I had no idea how to go about that when I was getting started. I tell everyone I hustled on Twitter to get my first paying client, and I did. I kept doing that until I had clients who were referring me to their peers and until social media started working in my advantage – which is how I find new clients now-a-days.
That It’s More Than About Money
Over three years of business, I’ve definitely learned that what I do is more than just about the money I make. It’s more than just shooting out another design to a client and then forgetting their name. It’s about building relationships with my potential and current clients, and maintaining those relationships once they become past clients. You’ll never get anywhere in a freelance business if all you see is dollar signs.
What A “Dream Client” Is
I didn’t think much about a dream client while I was in school prior to starting my business. I probably thought it was a client who turned out to be someone you really enjoyed working with. Our dream clients are so much more than that, we can learn from them as much as we can serve them whatever they’re paying us for.
What Actually Goes Into A Brand
I can recall sitting in class, working on a project, and thinking that my “branding” was done for whatever project we had been working on once I had created a few things: the logo, the letterhead, and the business card. Let’s be real – there is so. much. more. to a brand than just those things. Does anyone even use letterheads anymore? A brand is about the story of the person or people behind it, the message they’re putting out into the world and selling to their clients. It’s the words they use, the way they talk (or write), and even the photographs that display what’s going on behind the scenes.
Although college can certainly be beneficial to many people, at this day and age, it’s understandable how it’s no longer a requirement to make it, especially online. Things like these can be learned through years of work or through the many experts sharing their knowledge with others through blogs and newsletters. Don’t let a lack of knowledge hold you back from chasing after whatever you want to do.
Kory Woodard is a web / blog designer currently residing in South Carolina with her husband and puppy. She specializes in helping passionate women bring their dreams to life through powerful and personal designs. When she’s not working, she’s catching up on her favorite shows with her husband or playing with her puppy. Check out her blog or find her on Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram.