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Last month, I showed you some great workflow-improving lessons from the Tuts+ Mac Computer Skills section. Today, I'm going to take a look at another important part of the web design process: business. With the help of Tuts+ Business, this roundup will showcase some great business tutorials to help improve your web design trade.
Web design is a creative skill and a trade which avoids repetition through every job being different. However, times may come when productivity takes a hit and it's difficult to stay motivated. These tutorials are hand-picked from Tuts+ Business's Productivity category; let's jump in!
Writer and blogger David Masters shows, in "How to Start Every Day with a Productive Mindset", how to better your workflow by taking simple steps to increase your productivity. From getting enough sleep to eating a metaphorical frog, this tutorial discusses the benefits simple steps can make to any workflow, including that of a web designer.
What if you could do more while changing very little? This is the proposition Brian Casel offers. This tutorial recommends five simple, tried-and-tested methods to improving your workflow by eliminating particularly prominent distractions and focusing yourself towards your end goal. It's well worth a look.
Happy workers are productivity workers (really, it's been scientifically proven!) David Masters shows us how to get "in the zone" and be more happy at work, thus improving our productivity in the process.
When you are completely absorbed or caught up in something, you become oblivious to things around you, or to the passage of time. It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imagination.
Business & Finance
These next tutorials come from Tuts+ Business's Business & Finance section, showcasing lessons that can be learned to help better manage the financial state of your web design business.
In this post, Thursday Bram discusses the process of writing project proposals as a freelancer. This tutorial goes over the process of putting together a proposal and offers some tips on how to streamline things, making the whole experience better for yourself and your client.
In "6 Budget Planning Steps to Professional Project Estimates", Jennifer Stakes Roberts presents two approaches to planning project estimates: the "Bottom-Up Estimate" and the "Top-Down Estimate".
As a freelancer, it is essential to get your estimates right. Too high, and you might not get the project; too low, and you won’t make a profit. With a professional estimate, you will be able to show your client how you have arrived at your cost, which will help them see that your price is fair.
Deciding what to charge can be one of the biggest obstacles for new freelancers entering any trade. Everyone deserves to be compensated appropriately, though, and in this post Carol Tice shares many resources to judge the value of your time.
When you're not providing a physical product, the threat of someone stealing your intellectual property is very apparent. In this article, Tara Hornor discusses just what intellectual property is, when and how intellectual property theft happens and some precautions you can take to avoid losing out.
Tax. It can be a frighting word. Fortunately, in "The Freelancer's Essential 12-Step Guide to Avoiding Tax Trouble", Carol Tice helps US-based freelancers understand how the tax system works for freelancers and the process of paying (or, perhaps, responding to situations when you can't). If you're starting out in the US, or find yourself mid-way through your first tax year, this is a great place to start.
As freelancers, this responsibility falls squarely on our shoulders. But tax-phobia shouldn't keep you from pursuing the freelance life.
At the end of the day, we can't always work for free. Rather, a sound sales strategy is vital to the sustainability of your web design business. These tutorials are all about sales and ensuring your have jobs rolling in.
As I mentioned earlier, everyone deserves to be paid for the work they do. Unfortunately, with many options open to your clients, you can end up being oversold and forced to get into a habit of taking on lower-paying jobs. In "3 Things Holding You Back From $3,000+ Website Projects", Brent Weaver discusses some common themes among freelancers who end up avoiding desirable, high-paying contracts.
Earlier, I pointed you to a couple of tutorials on the process of writing proposals. In this post, Angela Ferraro-Fanning discusses a different type of document, the contract, listing twelve things you should make sure every design contract includes.
Just as we do here at Tuts+ Web Design, Tuts+ Business hosts a number of series of business articles centred around a particular theme. Though not everything mentioned might be linked to your own particular business experience, there are a few which stand out as useful reads for web designers in all situations. Let's take a look!
When working as a web designer, you may often find your business only extends to a small group of individual clients rather than a highly-popular mass market. Nonetheless, getting your voice heard amongst many other professionals vying for similar jobs can be a daunting experience. In the special video series "Marketing Your New Online Business", Omar Zenhom looks at how to market your new freelance business.
Staying productive and focused is a great quality to have in almost any trade, including freelance examples like web design. In "Build Your Productivity System", David Masters offers a number of tutorials that offer help in improving your workflow by increasing happiness, productivity and focus.
"The business of business is business." Ultimately, the success of your web design business will come from the bottom line. However, in the early stages, you may find yourself lost for ways on raising funds for your new or growing business. In "Funding a Business", Andrew Blackman details the various ways you can try to raise some money in order to propel your freelance business and get things started.
Once again, we open up the floor to you, our readers. If you've been reading Tuts+ Business or just have any own business tips of your own, be sure to share them in the comments section!