Sunday, 22 September 2013

Difficult Decisions

What do you do when you can't keep doing the thing you love but would like to keep a hand in anyway? I've had to make the difficult decision to move my business away from directly providing web design services to recommending other people's web design and service businesses. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Excessive competition

  2. Niche skillset

  3. Profit margin

Okay, let's take it from the top.

1. Excessive competition

Web design used to be a niche market where people like myself who had the skills could command a decent fee and expect to get it. This is still true for people who are able to attract the tech-phobic and time-constrained, but actually getting hold of these people is usually a matter of going via word of mouth. Since they don't use the internet much there's not much point in hoping your website will float to the top of the search results and there are other people in the same situation I was in, I struggled to get business in. Add to that the plethora of DIY solutions including website builders and blogging platforms, cash constraints, and the delusions of competence many amateurs seem to have, and you can see why I had such a hard time getting work.

2. Niche Skillset

I'm not a programmer. My customer base was technophobic small and startup businesses, and I was providing a service for them, just basic boutique websites with the capability to add functionality via applications programs such as blogs, galleries, and shopping programs. Then it turned out that WP can do all of that, then it turned out that to attract the customers who were willing to shell out a decent fee, I needed skills I didn't have. And acquiring those skills via the internet was going to be an uphill struggle when I couldn't afford the training course fees.

3. Profit Margin

I'd have needed to have at least one website a week to break even. That wasn't happening. I got an admin job, and while it was part time I could still do this as a hobby, but now I'm working full time I'm too tired to do anything else on top of it. Even the advertising isn't pulling much in.

So it is with a heavy heart I'm having to announce that I'm winding up the business and running it as a recommendations blog, passing business to recommended providers who will give those of you who recognise the need to get professionals in the service you require. These are people who will provide a decent service at a reasonable price. I look forward to hearing good news about them.

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