While some startups make it big, most of them do not succeed. Creating your own web design empire is not an overnight venture. You need to have a strategy and ambition. A fully developed web design business should be run with an unrivalled passion to create websites that drive results.

From freelancers who have become startup owners and made it big in the industry, here are some of the great lessons we have learned from web design moguls about the factors that influenced their business’ growth:

1. Tristan King, Shopify Ninjas

Tristan King from Shopify Ninjas suggests that adding a personal touch when dealing with clients goes a long way.

“In addition to building a great website, we use tools to make the process really smooth, we set clear timelines, and always deliver on time. After a project completes, we send handwritten thank you cards. These small touches have helped immensely with referrals and clients returning for more work.”

2. Jeremy Watt, Up Later Studio

“I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t just convince a client to spend $2,500 if the project doesn’t warrant it.” You’re right, you can’t — but what you can do is empower and educate yourself on the currency of time. At the end of the day, when you’re in a service provider industry, you’re not only selling clients your talents; you’re selling them your time, and you need to know if you have enough of it.”

3. Gavin Ballard, Disco

Gavin Ballard, founder and CEO at Disco, says that there’s no other way to grow your business than to share your knowledge. Eventually, you will reap the rewards at the end.

“The best thing I’ve done to help grow my business has been simply sharing what I know and teaching others. It was a little counterintuitive at first — it kind of felt like giving away trade secrets — but over time it’s positioned me as an expert in the field. Nowadays, clients are often seeking me out specifically because I’ve helped them or someone they know in the past via a blog post, workshop, or forum comment.”

4. Alexander, Site Manager

“Testimonials are a form of social proof: you borrow third-party influence to sway potential customers. These days, any website that advertises a service must have them. Otherwise, the site looks, well… naked.”

5. Nick van Gorden, Duck & Cover

Growing your business will not be possible without going the extra mile and expanding your limits – this is the advice of Nick van Gorden from Duck & Cover.

“I think testing your bandwidth is so important. We really started growing when we decided to take on a ton of work. We had no idea what we were capable of until we backed ourselves into a corner with an obscene workload. My advice would be to take on more work than you can handle, discover your limit, then use that as a catalyst for growth.”

6. Sara Mote, Sara Mote

For Sara Mote, web design businesses should always focus on the end goal of bringing in the best people to work with the team. These people will become the fuel of your success.

“Having a clear vision to bring in the right people is so important. Hiring my incredibly talented, driven, and passionate team is the best business decision I’ve ever made and has been immensely influential at fueling the growth of our company.”

7. Rachel Farabaugh, Bohemian and Chic

Trusting your gut instinct will never do you wrong. This is Rachel Farabaugh’s one piece of advice to web design business owners to eliminate the stress of dealing with clients.

“My biggest advice is to trust your intuition at all times. I can tell from the first phone call if the client is going to be too difficult to work with and, trust me, it’s better to walk away from a bad situation than endure it. I’ve learned that I can be more productive and creative when I’m not limited by the stress and anxiety that some clients are all too willing to inflict. I’m happier and less stressed, and that’s been reflected in the work I produce.”

8. Elle McCann, Curious Themes

Elle McCann from Curious Themes believes that sticking to something you’re good at is better than being a master of all trades. This allows you to grow as an individual.

“The biggest change in my business’ growth happened when I decided to be more niche. I had been working as a freelance web designer for a few years already, but was trying to get clients that needed a little bit of everything. At first I thought this was a great idea, however I was having trouble getting clients consistently. I came to realize it was better to be really good at one thing instead of good at a lot of things. So I went niche by focusing solely on ecommerce. Through this I was able to really craft my message to speak exactly to my target market’s goals, needs, and fears.”

About Fazreen RazeekFazreen Razeek from Grafdom has served the digital industry for over 5 years. He collaborates and works alongside agencies, event organizers, and suppliers to develop and execute their marketing strategies. He is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications. A graduate with High Distinction from the Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, Fazreen holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Marketing & Management.