Running a web design and development business. Part 1 of ?

There’s been a fair bit of talk recently about the need for more business writing in the web design and development world. I agree. There was more than one occasion at sxsw where I said “next year, I’m putting a panel together about running a small web service business.” I will too, but there’s no need to wait till next year to start the discussion.

For good or bad, I have a lot to say about running a business. I’ve owned businesses both online and off, selling both products (expensive bicycles) and services (graphic and web design). I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and have tried to make the most of them.

My business, The Blog Studio, is in an interesting stage. We’ve almost made it through the first two years, and have the scars and wisdom to prove it. We’re in transition to a more mature business model. I’m finally fulfilling my grandiose title of Creative Director, and am directing some design, instead of doing it all myself. I’ve also given up writing markup and css (something I love to do). The reality is that I am more valuable building my business than I am fulfilling one of its tasks. By giving up coding, I have some (theoretical) time to work on the business itself.

To that end, I’ve recently signed up with a business coach. I’ll hold off on the details for now, as the process is just getting underway. If anyone is interested I can write about why I decided to do this. Let me know by email or in the comments.

Other topics I may well cover include documentation, project management and how to do it badly, the vital importance of covering your ass, dealing with clients, over promising and under delivering, things I know we should be doing but aren’t, and other such “let’s learn by watching Peter run into a wall” moments.

Of course, I may well abandon the whole idea. It’s not the idea that’s the hard part. It’s the follow through.

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