5 Tools A New Web Design Business Owner Needs
When you first start a web design business there are a lot of things to do! Some of those things include sending invoices and legal contracts… which can be super time-consuming and confusing. In this blog post, we’re going to cover the tools a new web design business owner needs. We’re talking about time management business tools, small business tools, and graphic design tools to implement into your business as a web design freelancer.
Tools, tools, tools, tools, tools.
Let me tell ya what! A good tool that makes your life a helluva lot easier is priceless. Raise your hand if you agree ✋
In my family, we’re smoothie-a-holistic. Literally. If breakfast for too many days straight doesn’t include a smoothie, then you can guarantee there will be some complaining. (Not even avocado toast can compare to a good, fruit smoothie.) #firstworldproblems
When our smoothie addiction first kicked off, we were making smoothie bowls with our Ninja blender. No beef with the Ninja (okay, maybe a little bit of beef) but it wasn’t a tool that made my life easier. If anything, it made me almost want to change my addiction from smoothies to eggs (and I’ll let you in on a little secret, plant-based over here).
The ninja was a tool that took a maybe 5-minute smoothie-making process and turned it into a 20-minute ordeal that I literally had to plan into my day. A Ninja blender just wasn’t high-powered enough to whip our ingredients into a delicious treat.
Enter my precious Vitamix blender… oh wow did my life change! My 5-minute smoothie making process is just that… 5 minutes 🙌🏻
Let me ask you a question…
How many times in your web design business journey have you thought, “how can this be easier?”
Ayoo, let me help ya with that!
Here are some things we chatted about during life:
- How much time (and money) I wasted hopping from one tool to another
- Shiny object syndrome is a real thing
- The 5 types of tools you need to get started as a web design freelancer
- Free tools, free tools, and more free tools
My experience with business tools
When I first started my business I was hopping from one tool to another tool every couple of months.
“Oh look, Freshbooks!”
“Wow, I should try Wave!”
Not only was this a clear waste of money (because sometimes I wouldn’t even finish the plan I was one), but it was also a huge waste of time. Every time I found a new platform, I would spend anywhere from 5 hours to 10 hours setting it up, transferring all my content from the old platform to the new platform, and learning how to use my newest latest obsession.
Waste of time.
But as a business owner, it made me feel like I was doing something. Staying busy, just doing anything business-related, made me feel like, “hell yeah I’m being productive!”
I was being the exact opposite of productive. I was actually wasting so much time by recreating the wheel over and over again simply because a new tool was pitched to me in a way that made me think that tool would make my life easier.
So before you read any further, I want to clarify something.
If you’ve found a tool that works for you then DO NOT take this blog post as the end-all-be-all. DO NOT swap your platform because of a tool I mention below if the tool you’re already using works great for you!
Use this blog post as a guide to help you find tools for parts of your business that are currently lacking a good tool. And if you’re just starting your web design business then make sure you look for the asterisk to see which of the tools I chat about are my favorite!
Okay? Did you get me?
The 5 types of tools you need in your business
There are 5 types of tools a new web design business owner needs. They are:
- A graphic design tool
- A page builder
- A contract tool
- A project management system
- A payment processor
Each of these will play a critical role in your business and will seriously make your life so much easier! What’s even better is I’ve shared mostly free or inexpensive tools below so even if you’re a brand spanking new web designer, you can use these tools too!
Graphic Design Tools to Use in Your Web Design Business
If you’re designing a website at the same time you’re building it (so you know, using the Elementor front-end builder to plan design, and build it at the same time) then I encourage you to stop.
I did this, too. I realized that a design tool would make my life so much easier. Instead of designing and building a website at the exact same time, I design first using a graphic design tool and then build after my client has approved the designs.
This may sound more time-consuming but I’ve found it actually speeds up the process and allows me to produce a better website.
Figma* is a free graphic design tool that allows you to build website wireframes and mockups. It is ridiculously user-friendly and one of the first graphic design tools I implemented into my business!
Page Builders to Use in Your Web Design Business
Note: The following page builders aren’t free. Each one has a different price but whichever one you choose is well worth the investment.
ELEMENTOR* is my absolute favourite WordPress page builder! Without Elementor, my business wouldn’t be where it is today. It made my life and web design process so much simpler. Trust me when I say you HAVE to check it out.
Elementor is a WordPress page builder that is super popular amongst the web design community.
Pricing for Elementor: Currently Elementor costs $49 / year for 1 site, $99 / year for 3 sites, and $199 / year for 1,000 sites. You could very easily have your client pay the yearly fee.
Squarespace is another option that is not WordPress-related! Maybe you’re slightly intimidated by WordPress (rightfully so, it has a pretty big learning curve) and want something simpler to build websites on. Squarespace is your jam!
Pricing for Squarespace: Currently Squarespace offers 4 different plans. Check here for features and pricing.
Contract Tools to Use in Your Web Design Business
Never ever, ever, ever, ever start a web design project without a contract in place. I can’t stress this enough! It may sound like a good idea – like oh, this person won’t ghost me or won’t cause problems. But you seriously never know. So to be safe, always create a contract and get it signed before moving forward with the project.
Hellosign* is the best free signature tool for your contracts. Yes, you do have to create your own contract off of the tool and then upload it to the tool to collect signatures but it’s really NBD. They offer paid plans too if you want to nip that in the bud.
Project Management Systems to Use in Your Web Design Business
The biggest time-waster as a business owner is NOT using a project management system but instead, trying to keep track of everything via email or Google Drive. Trust me when I say this, implementing a project management system into your business is going to be the one best thing you could ever do.
If you aren’t using a tool to organize yourself and you’re seriously wasting time in your business, then let me introduce you to two tools.
Asana* is hands down my favourite project management tool and what’s even better is that it’s totally free! Sure, there’s a paid version but it’s not needed. (I don’t use it and I have like a bajillion things going on in my business. Plus, my team can access our team projects no problem without the paid version.)
Trello is basically the arch nemesis of Asana but equally as good. From speaking without business owners I’ve found that you either love Asana and hate Trello or love Trello and hate Asana. There’s no right or wrong answer, just what’s right or wrong for your business.
Payment Processors to Use in Your Web Design Business
Lastly, you need to secure those payments, right?! Don’t forget to implement a payment processor into your business to easily invoice your clients and get paid.
2Checkout* is a super well-known payment processor that can be used all around the world. You can send off one-time invoices and create subscriptions. It’s simple to easy, automatically sends money to your bank, and integrates with all major programs you may use in your business!
PayPal*, as I’m sure you’ve used before, is ridiculously popular. It has all the same functionalities as Stripe and even allows you to create buttons that you can add to your website or sales page for easy payment.
I use both PayPal and 2Checkout in my business because some clients prefer one over the other.
There ya have it! The 5 tools a new web design business owner needs. Remember, if you have a tool that is working for you then don’t overcomplicate it by switching to something I’ve recommended! Use this to help you find new tools that may help you with a piece of your business that is seriously sucking up all your time.