How to Set the Right Goals & Expectations for Your Web Design Business


Motivational speakers love to tell us to “dream big”. And while that certainly sounds inspirational, it should probably be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. This is especially so when it comes to running a business.

Within the realm of web design, it’s hard not to envision ourselves at the top of an empire – one built on our own hard work and great ideas. When you see some of the real-life success stories and combine them with those too-perfect social media profiles, it’s only natural to want a piece of the pie.

Yet, reality can be altogether different. For instance, it’s quite unlikely we’ll hit the e-commerce jackpot like Jeff Bezos. And we may not have the status symbols of a social media star. When this realization hits, it can make us feel as if we’ve failed.

But that’s not necessarily the case. Quite often, so much of finding success is about setting the right goals and expectations. The following are some tips on how to do just that.

Be Inspired by Others, Not Bound by Them

Looking at a person or business that you admire, one that has “made it”, can be a great source of inspiration. If they did it, why not you?

Indeed, there’s something exciting about acknowledging someone else’s success and wanting to emulate it. Having real-world examples to turn to makes for a great resource when building up your own business. The key is in knowing where to draw the line.

We are all individuals who have different skillsets, face different challenges and even live in different parts of the world. Therefore, one person’s blueprint for getting to the top may not necessarily be the same as yours. And just because they’ve accomplished something – wealth, vast knowledge, top-flight projects – doesn’t mean your experience will be exactly the same.

Everyone’s path is going to be different. And while it’s great to have others in the industry to look up to, we shouldn’t set our goals based solely on what they have done. After all, we don’t work just to compare ourselves with other designers. Doing so doesn’t sound very fulfilling, does it?

Instead, it’s about doing something we love and, hopefully, satisfying our clients. The goal should be to become the best version of ourselves and not simply living up to what others have done.

A woman relaxing in a swimming pool.

Think About Where You Are and Where You Want to Be

Now that we’re no longer judging our career against those of others, we can turn the focus to ourselves. It’s here where we will find the answers that we’re looking for.

The most important question to ask yourself is, what do you want out of your business? As an owner, you have the ultimate say in this area. This is something to think about in both the near and long terms. To put it another way: Where are you now and where do you want to go?

Those answers will vary from person to person, although attaining a certain income level would seem to be fairly universal. Outside of that, you might decide to take on higher-level projects or maybe even partnering up with another designer.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, the answers will provide you with a solid base when it comes to setting expectations.

A pathway.

Finding a Balance

Remember when we mentioned the idea of “dreaming big”? It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Letting your imagination run wild once in awhile could very well lead you to some great ideas. However, dreams alone won’t get you very far.

The reality of our daily grind is far less glamorous. Fixing broken websites, handling finances and generally doing the grunt work that takes us away from the fun, creative stuff. It’s pretty much the opposite of those big dreams.

So, maybe the balance we need is more about improving reality, rather than striving to live in a fantasy world.

For example, if you’re not satisfied with the types of clients you’re getting, think about what it will take to level up. Perhaps it will require you to learn some new skills or narrow your focus when it comes to the types of projects you take on.

The idea is to make your day-to-day existence a more accurate reflection of who you are and what you want to do. Sure, the big picture is still important. But it’s those smaller, more incremental changes that can end up making the biggest difference.

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