Know about some businesses created by web designers
If you own a business today, having a website is a must. Earlier, a website was seen as a luxury for a business but with almost all businesses going online and tech savvy customers searching for everything online using their smartphone and other smart devices, it has become imperative to ensure your online presence. And the first step in the right direction is to get yourself a website.
From big companies to small- and mid-sized businesses, startups, professionals (like doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.), almost everyone today needs to have a web presence, which will let them reach and woo millions of potential customers all over the world. In a way, you can say your website is like a marketing brochure, a major advertising supplement, and a mail order catalog – all rolled into a solitary package that can be changed and updated from time to time to match the changing market demands and present as well as upcoming industry trends.
And as long as people need attractive and aesthetic websites to be designed, web designers would be in demand. But if you thought web designers only create websites, think again because there are several others tasks too where these professionals are much sought after. From designing online games and apps to ensuring a great user experience for website users or those who shop online at various e-commerce stores etc, web designers can find jobs in various fields.
The entrepreneurial angle
While some web designers may get a relevant degree and hone their skills on the job, others may be self-taught professionals who take the freelance route to pick and work on projects that interest them. But there’s a common angle to both these categories – most have a burning desire to be on their own and start their own web design agency. Even if you are a novice who has just learnt web design, you can take the entrepreneurial route because probably, you already have what’s needed – the requisite knowledge, a computer, and a speedy Internet connection. Ideally, you should also have certain tools and apps, many of which you can download for free and use on most systems. Thus, with basic software and hardware along with your talent and knowledge would be enough to get off the ground.
Web designers who went on to become entrepreneurs
If you need inspiration to take the entrepreneurial road and set up your business, you can take a cue from Ethan Marcotte, who started the “responsive web design” movement by coining the term and describing a novel way of designing to fit the ever-changing needs of the World Wide Web. It was he who showed how it was possible for designers and organizations to leverage the World Wide Web’s flexibility to design for desktop, mobile, tablet, and whatever else might come up in the future.
Though Ethan still runs solo, he has transformed from a web developer into an entrepreneur. Apart from helping clients like The Sundance Film Festival, People Magazine, and The Boston Globe to improve their design processes and design systems, and create more accessible products, Ethan also acts as a consultant for the occasional startups, speaks at conferences, runs workshops and training programs, and writes books.
Karen McGrane – a user experience designer and content strategist with more than 15 years of experience of making large, complicated websites is another person who can inspire you to start your own business.
You may even learn a thing or two from Lebanon-based Sara Soueidan (a frontend UI developer and author), Chris Coyier (HTML and CSS expert), Sarah Parmenter (a popular user interface designer, who specializes in design for the web as well as iPad and iPhone), and Dan Cederhol (who is a web designer and a popular speaker).
Important things to keep in mind
Ensure online security
Once you have decided to set up your own business, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. The foremost among them is to secure your confidential data and that of your clients’ right from the beginning.
For example, if you mostly work on your Mac, you have to take steps to secure your Mac with updated software and OS as well as robust passwords. Since your work will need you to spend long hours online, it would be prudent to look for VPN for Mac users as it will encrypt all your online sessions, thus keeping them safe and away from malicious elements as well as prying eyes.
Know about the copyright laws related to HTML and web designs
Since HTML and CSS are protected by copyright, you simply can’t save a design that you like to your hard drive and replace its content with your own, because that would mean violating the copyright. This would hold true even when you alter the class names and IDs to make the design look like your own work.
The rule of thumb is that if you didn’t spend time to produce the CSS and HTML yourself, you may be violating copyright. However, giving the original designer the credit for your derivation or reverse engineering the design (where you aren’t copying all aspects of the design, and are writing the code yourself) are ways to avoid violating copyright. You may even use templates (free or paid) to create new designs that won’t involve violating copyright laws.