Not everyone should be hiring a web designer; I’ve said this many times before. There are a few very crucial reasons not to hire a web designer that I wanna dive into right away. After all, I did make a very bold statement just now.
Really quickly though, I want to explain why I am writing this post. My mission is to help women achieve their business goals and build profitable online businesses and brands. I can’t be doing that if I would be forcing businesses that aren’t ready to hire me to do precisely that. As you read this article, I have a feeling you will agree with me as well.
Okay, let’s dive in already!
Websites are the most essential business investment
Oh yeah, I just said that. Yes, websites are in fact the most critical business investments, especially for online businesses. However, when you are just starting out with your online business, your site can just be good enough. I am not giving anyone of you permission to have a terrible website, whether it’s your first day in business or the millionth one.
A quality website can help convert your leads at high rates by optimizing your visitor’s experience, resonating well with them, and making your products or services look irresistible. That’s why it’s an important investment. (Although that in itself is not amongst the reasons not to hire a web designer 😉 )
However, a good website will only work for you if your business works first. You shouldn’t be investing in a website if your business is still figuring out how to function profitably. That’s why I wouldn’t be doing my mission if I were to take money from just anyone! There are a lot more important thing you ought to be investing in when you’re first starting – and I will detail them later – however, if you do have extra money lying around when you’re starting out instead of hiring me, hire a business coach. Promise it will be a better investment.
Simply put, there is a right time to hire a designer, and it’s not until you’ve proven your business to be profitable.
What’s this right time you speak of?
Hiring a designer will serve to optimize your business and to scale it. It will be part of the process of your business going from making $5,000/month to $7,500 to $10,000 and so on…
Jeremy has an excellent point. And I’m going to relay his advice on this subject to you. He advises all new and starting businesses that make less than $1,000/month of profit not to waste their money on hiring a designer! Not revenue but profit; that means after all your other expenses, you will be left with an additional $1,000.
If your revenue is below the $1,000, Jeremy suggests reinvesting that money back into your business. Ideally, you’d invest that money to help ease your mental or physical energy. It could be hiring help around the house, so you don’t have to clean it. Or, it could be employing some to help you with your social media. Whatever it is, it should be helping you grow your business more efficiently and helping you get to sustainable profitability.
Four reasons not to hire a web designer
There are four key things you should be focusing your energy on when you first start. These four things trump hiring a designer anytime you are still not making $1,000 in monthly profits.
1. Learn about your target audience first
Most businesses fail because they don’t solve real problems. Often times it’s a problem assumed by the company’s founders. Don’t fall for this trap.
In order to have a proper problem to solve, you need to communicate with your target audience to find out what difficulties they actually need solving. Simple in theory, yet most businesses still fail due to this exact issue.
Always be talking to your target audience to better understand them, to learn what they like and don’t like, where they hang out online, what kind of content they like to consume, when, where and how….
Knowing your target audience inside and out will make you extremely knowledgeable. It’s actually a snowball effect. If you know these people very well, you will know exactly what to tweet about, you will know what kind of blog posts to write and promotions to run. Knowing your target audience and keeping track of what they tell you is how you will be able to write the perfect product descriptions or landing pages. Using their own words will resonate with them so much more and, in turn, cause them to buy because they will feel like you’re reading their minds!
This is a powerful and essential habit for any business’ survival! If you start this habit early on, it will become convenient once you start to grow and scale significantly.
What do you think so far? Do you think my reasons not to hire a web designer are on to something? I told you that you’d be agreeing with me!
2. Iterating on your products and services
Now that you know what your target audience wants and needs, you need to create an offer that solves it for them. That will take time and practice. You will always be iterating in order to make sure you understood the needs of your clients or customers. Additionally, people’s needs evolve so you will need to keep up with that as well.
The reason this is the second of the four reasons not to hire a web designer is that just because you got the problem nailed down because you speak with your target audience on the regular, don’t start assuming that your solution is the right one either. Pick a solution you think will do the trick the best, present it to the audience. Use their feedback to perfect it as it’s never easy to get it right the first time.
Part of the product-market fit issue is also being able to provide a reliable solution to your target audience. Don’t forget to always keep iterating to make sure your solution is delivering the desired results.
Keep in mind, this takes time and MONEY. Spending your money on improving your solutions when you’re under $1,000 monthly profit will go a lot further than hiring a web designer.
3. Learn to sell your solution
(These last two reasons not to hire a web designer can be done interchangeably. There four reasons aren’t in any specific order.)
Alright, let’s say your solution is in fact super amazing. So what if you can’t sell it… You need to figure out what kind of value propositions will captivate your audience and what type of language will connect and resonate with them to make a sale. Yes, understanding them, how they think and talk will definitely be an exceptional starting point. However, you will have to learn how to optimize your sales funnels and sales process – including landing pages too – to know what gets these people to buy.
This is what I meant earlier about it being okay if your website is just good enough. No one will buy from you if your site is confusing, if the offer isn’t explained nicely or if the checkout process is wonky. Read on, and I will provide you with three cheap websites builders that will help you a achieve a good enough website for you to test your online selling skills.
4. Build your audience
Above all else, no one will buy anything of yours if they don’t know about you in the first place. That’s why you need to also focus on building your audience, tribe, community or whatever you wanna call it. My advice is to concentrate your efforts on growing an email list. (I’ve mentioned this in previous posts as well. There are companies out there who run solely on email lists where they don’t worry about a website at all! How amazing is that?!)
There are many other ways to build an audience such as through social media, guest appearances, content marketing, advertising and so on… I only suggest making an email list your focus because it’s the one thing you will have 100% control over whereas social media followers are “borrowed,” so to speak.
Wherever you choose to build your audience, there is no disputing that you must do so. If only a hand full of people know and love you, it will never be enough to sustain your business. You must keep growing your reach and visibility in order to see substantial revenue and keep scaling.
If you’d like I have an amazing freebie that goes over 6 different way to improve your brand visibility. It’s based on a marvelous blog post. It’s part workbook and part checklist and it’s a 100% free printable.
You’ll fail to be a good design client
That may be a bit harsh to hear but … hear me out. If you and I were to get started working today, I’d start by asking you many different questions. I’m not here to pick on a new business owner. I’m saying all my clients have all the answers either. But, what I am saying is that many of those answers only come with the experience of running your businesses.
Those questions have a lot to do with the four points outlined above. You simply cannot know what kind of content or social media marketing efforts are the most effective with your target audience if you haven’t run any yet. You can’t know what resonates with your audience or describe them to me in details if you are just starting to learn about them. All that information is crucial because it becomes your brand foundation and without that, I can’t give you a quality website nor a solid strategy that are actually helping your business grow. It doesn’t work that way!
What can you do in the meantime?
That’s a great question! When you’re just starting out, I suggest you use one of those website building services. They are perfect for new businesses for two reasons.
1. They are low cost
Some of them are as cheap as $5/month, but on average they are roughly $19-$49/month. They also include hosting, and some make domain buying super easy. Ha! I bet you this alone is another one to add to my list of reasons not to hire a web designer! 😉
My advice would be to always start on the cheapest plans no matter the service you go with. Pricing tears vary based on three things: the amount of traffic being handled, the number of eCommerce transactions being processed or premium features. Get the cheapest plan, you don’t need that extra stuff till much later.
2. These services make website updating super easy
This is important because as you’re learning about your audience, you will need to update your site on the regular to see what works and what doesn’t. The easier it is for you to maintain and update your website, the easier it will be for you to experiment. I will suggest a few good services for you below. They all are very easy to use.
I want to remind you that as you are building and updating your website, you’re not aiming for perfect. You want a site that is good enough to get the sale! But, I’m also not giving you permission to have a horrendous website!
Website builders to consider
Squarespace is renowned for its design-oriented templates. That’s why it’s #1 on this list. If you’re looking to start off with something simple but beautiful, this is the platform for you. Its designs have excellent flow and work very well with image filled design.
Squarespace works well for bloggers, service-providers, products sellers or eCommerce stores. Although they do target a few different industries, Squarespace would work for anyone. However, they do target designer, photographers, any profession with a visual portfolio really, restaurants, and boutique shops. Lastly, it’s good to note that Squarespace has amazing one-off landing pages.
Set up is pretty straightforward. They do have a free 14-day trial that doesn’t require a credit card if you want to play around with it first.
As you can see, based off my four reasons not to hire a web designer, there are still very good design alternatives for those of you who are just starting out!
Next up is Wix, the most popular drag-and-drop website builder on the market today. They are responsible for creating over 100 million websites. Their tools are easy to use and their templates are a lot more customizable then Squarespace. Wix is also good for any kind of website in any kind of industry – they have no preference.
Their website builder tool is well praised by many industry experts. They are always adding new features. Wix is known to invest in creating tools to make sure your website is successful.
On top of that, they are free to use. However, there are paid features starting at $5/month if you are looking to upgrade.
Lastly, we have Weebly. They are renowned for how user-friendly their platform is, particularly their drag-and-drop website building interface. Weebly’s customers cannot stop raving about how simple it is to use and how quickly you can build a website with them. (I hear its so easy you can be done in under an hour.) I highly recommend Weebly if you are a technophobe or just ain’t tech savvy at all! This will definitely be the least stressful option for you.
Weebly, like the previous two examples, also works with any kind of site and any industry. Their cheapest plan starts at $8/month and comes with everything a new business might need to get started. However, if you are looking for more marketing or eCommerce handling, their $25/month plan will take care of those needs for you too.
All in all, I’m pretty sure you agree with me….There are more important things a business should be doing when it’s just starting out. And although I understand the impulse to create a beautiful brand for your business as soon as possible, trust me when I say the visual design doesn’t matter if your offer sucks and no one is willing to buy it. People buy from “ugly” brands and companies all the time. Just look at companies like Dell, Ryan Air, Home Depot or Walmart.
The takeaway from this article I want you to have is that you can’t throw money at a business to make it attractive if the company isn’t selling and making money. These four reasons not to hire a web designer are very important, so do consider them. When you’re done mastering these four reasons not to hire a web designer, give me a call; I’ll get you a stunning brand with a strategic website that will skyrocket your current business results.