When I was in high school, EVERYONE had started a “Web design company” at one point.
It’s such a simple way of making money that seems to have been lost in all the talk of “AJAX” and “user generated content.” Web design is simple. You make a website, someone pays you…done.
A lot of people are caught up in this Web 2.0 mentality crap where you create a massively popular social website or widget, then start making money somewhere down the line. The chances of success in this case are astronomically slim. People also get caught up trying to start some lame business which I think Ramit explains very nicely.
I have never learned how to program or even fully use HTML, but thanks to Frontpage, Dreamweaver, WordPress etc. you don’t really have to know too much detail. Any kid with some simple web design experience can make good money like this.
I used to utilize a guerilla marketing method for web design, and it would bring in pretty good cash for a relatively simple service. Nowadays with content management systems, CSS and all that other dynamic content stuff, it’s easier than ever.
Here is an example of what I would do:
1.) Find restaurants /businesses with no webpage. CitySearch.com is a great place to start. I generally focused on restaurants at the time.
2.) Scope out the restaurant and obtain one of their menu’s.
3.) Buy a domain name with the restaurants name in it.
4.) Design and host their website, including their full menu and some pictures, information about the restaurant etc..
5.) When finished with the website (They still don’t even know I’ve done this)…Contact the person in charge of the restaurant.
6.) Give them the one line sales pitch……”If you like www.TheirWebsite.com, pay me $XXX.XX and $XX.XX for hosting.”
Charging $15/month for hosting would often make me more money than the actual webpage over a few years.
7.) COLLECT CASH.
Designing an entire custom webpage for someone who may not buy is just crazy, so to streamline the process I made a templated page that could be outfitted with a different name for each different restaurant. Just change the name, contact info, opening/closing times etc. and I was done.
Nowadays you can go to
www.TemplateMonster.com and just pick out a fantastically designed web page specific to your field (Real estate, restaurants…) for less than $50 and outfit it with the business name and content….EASY! Like this…
THE BEST PART is this method can be used with mechanic shops, restaurants, lawyers, law firms, dentists, doctors, retail stores, real estate agents…you name it. MOST small businesses don’t always need a crazily complicated website. They often just want SOME online presence to state their location, contact information, rates, menu, open hours and such.
This way of getting web design contracts is MUCH easier than putting out ads on Craigslist or hunting for business….because the webpage is ALREADY made, meaning the buyer sees it, likes most of it…and only minor changes are generally made…..and if they want more changes, then you charge them accordingly. You can upsell services such as search engine optimization, hosting, custom design, changes. This method of selling also doesn’t require you to have an established portfolio of websites.
If the owner totally rejects the offer, ohh well….the only thing lost was $9 for the domain name and a few hours of work (if even). I’d say I had over an 80% success rate selling websites like this.
Essentially this is very simple web design, but it’s ACTIVE SELLING rather than passive.
Instead of trying to jump straight to opening an online retail store or some other scheme to make money online, this is a GREAT way for someone young or old to get started, and you will learn tons along the way.