I’m 14 years old want to start a web design business. I already have a website. How can I attract more customers?
I was 14 years old when I started my web design business. Over a decade later, I have hundreds of clients. Yes, it is possible to build a successful web design business at a young age.
First off, time is on your side. Starting young means you’re building your skillset and client base before you have the pressures and bills of adult life.
Second, starting young is the best way to gradually build up your recurring revenue by selling website hosting and maintenance plans.
You are wise to build your own website first. Your website should be top-notch since it’s a live demonstration of your web design and development skills.
On that note, your website should absolutely include portfolio and testimonials pages. These pages might be blank at first, but over time, every project will grow your portfolio and credibility.
Your portfolio should represent your best work. There might not be much on it at first, but over time, highlight your most impressive websites to show off your web design skills.
Strive to obtain a 5-star review from every customer you build a website for. You should work extra hard for your first customers so you earn those valuable 5-star reviews. The more positive reviews you accumulate, the better chance you have at attracting higher-value clients.
How do you attract more customers? Here are 8 ideas from the “Earning Clients” section of my web design business course:
- Friends & Family — One of the best ways to kickstart your portfolio and reviews is to build (discounted) websites for your friends and family. Do any of your friends or family members own businesses? Let your friends and family know you’ve started a website design business and could really use their help. Leverage your personal network of friends and family to help them out, build or improve their website, as they help you out by building your portfolio, reputation and experience
- Warm Calls — Have you ever come across a website that needs help? Maybe it doesn’t look very professional? Give them a call or email them! When you’re young, it might be best to communicate through email. A “cold call” is a phone call with someone you’ve never met. A “warm call” is where you’ve already researched the business, looked at their website, and come up with ideas where you can improve it. Contact the business and let them know specifically how you can help them with their website! You could also make a note of businesses in your area that do not have a website at all. Email or call them to offer to build their website!
- Freelance Sites — Have you heard of Freelancer.com or Upwork ? These websites let you bid on projects. You can create a profile on sites like these and search for companies who need a web designer like you. Put in a “bid” by stating how much you would charge to solve their website design problem. If they choose you, you’ll be paid to design or improve their website (or whatever else they requested).
- Search Engine Optimization — Have you heard of SEO? Have you ever done a search on Google? Companies that have optimized their websites for search engines have a better chance at showing up on page 1 of Google search results. Learn SEO for free at a website like Moz so your website can rank well when people in your area use Google to find a web designer. However, don’t sit back and expect customers to come from your Google listing. Invest your time in SEO but don’t rely on it as your only referral source.
- Non-Profits — Do you have any non-profit organizations in your area? How do their websites look? Do they have a Facebook but no website? These organizations are great first customers! They are passionate, they know people, and they need a good website. You might not get as much money from these customers, but they can help you grow your business by recommending you to other businesses!
- Trade Organizations — Do you have Tradebank or ITEX in your area? These are bartering organizations. Basically, you build a website for “trade” dollars, which you can spend with other businesses also in that network. You may not be able to join at 14 years old, but keep these in mind as you grow older.
- Advertising — You can run TV ads, Google Ads, Boost Posts on Facebook, and countless other means of advertising, but you might be wasting your money if you don’t gain any customers from that. If you decide to advertise, find a company that will monitor your ad campaign closely, optimize it, and stop advertising if you don’t find any customers from it.
- Network & Referral Marketing — Have you heard of BNI? BNI.com is the absolute best way to get customers. You might not be able to join at 14 years old, but as you grow older, look into local BNI chapters in your area. Meeting people, making connections, shaking hands, passing business cards is the #1 most effective way to attract more customers. It is so important to meet people, because people do business with those they know, like and trust.
There are several ways to attract customers. Most importantly, let your friends and family know about your web design business, search your local area for businesses with websites you could help improve, and check out freelancing sites like Freelancer and Upwork. Best wishes on your web design business!