The challenge of being just a one man team is really the challenge of finding your niche and working as hard as possible to make it succeed. This is a valuable lesson for ever small business owner to consider. Even in a field as big and broad as website design and development, finding that niche can be key to success and survival. Following my own counsel then, I’m working harder to focus my efforts on one specific niche: small business websites.
I’ve done a lot of work in WordPress, so it would seem like WordPress would be my niche, except that even WordPress has a very large spread. So perhaps if I combine the best of both worlds what we get is WordPress websites for Small Businesses. That I think is a good niche for my business model.
In fact, though WordPress is used by some very big businesses and can be tweaked as a framework to do almost anything you can imagine, the beauty of WordPress is that you can literally have a fully functional website up and running, customized to meet your business’s needs, in less than a day.
Now, I should be a bit hesitant to make such a claim because not every situation can be a turn key solution (such as the project that I under-bidded on that I’m working on presently). Even still, the solution is much less labor intensive built in WordPress than it otherwise would be.
On the other hand, I just had a gentleman walk in off the street last week. After talking with him for an hour about what he needed in a website, we sat down and created a new WordPress-powered website for him in just two hours with him sitting right here in my home office. It’s his job now to do the real work of creating the informative details of his website that will sell his business. My job, should he need me, is nothing more than making adjustments to the code and design as he feels his website merits it.
What really hurts me, having been in this industry for six years now, is to see a small business owner who knows that he must get a website online to market his business who then get suckered into contracting services with a web shop that is either over priced, dishonest, or incompetent. (Perhaps, I should be wary of that last attribute – sometimes I feel pretty incompetent.) Many times that small business owner will blow several hundred dollars (some times several thousand dollars) to have nothing to show for it.
Just one brief example of how this some times happens is with online listing services (you know, like online phone directories). I got suckered into paying a whopping $450/year several years back for a directory listing online that brought me no business that I can recall. I hear of hosting companies doing the same thing to small business owners who don’t know any better. (It not always in the hosting fees, but in the extra services, features, or security that they’ll nickle and dime small businesses to death.)
The best way to get your business to be seen online, is to just build your own website with a reputable but affordable web shop, that will set up your website to compete. It doesn’t cost much to do that, the trick is just to find a web shop that will meet your budget.
Increasingly, I’ve been working to do just that. I’m not making a lot of money this way. But we’ve all got to start some where.