You Work on the Web: What is Your Business Plan?

Published in Working on the Web on Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Many people have found it easy to speak up about web 2.0 business plans or the lack thereof. This got me to thinking: there are a lot of freelancers out there and people who work with design shops of various sizes who do freelance on the side. To all of you who do, what is your business plan?

This post is inspired by some of the things that I have gone thru in the last year and a half. Without going into details, lets just say that one day I realized that, while work was going fine, what was my plan for 5 years down the road? Or better, was I planning on doing the same thing in 5 years?

Five Years Down the Road?

Okay, so five years was the time that I picked, for some it may be 10 years and others it may be 6 months. The point is where is your business going? Will you, the freelancer, be doing design or development work for the next XX years until your portfolio hits triple digits? Will your small dev shop be doing the same?

Growth. It Happens.

For web developers (I'm using that as a catch all term) who do not work for large companies, places where there is room to ascend the ladder, the situation is different in that there is no ladder to climb. Only more clients. The problem is that as years go by, our skill set improves to the point that we are at the cutting edge of what we do, but chances are things will get a little mundane.

That is, we grow professionally, but where are the benefits akin to promotion? Higher wages? That may be enough to keep some people motivated. But just look around. As people grow and their skill set grows with them, they are searching for greater challenges and rewards, or more accurately, they want to flex their improving skill set and be rewarded accordingly.

So what do you do?

3-6 years ago you were learning CSS, then getting up to speed on your project management skills and refining your design talent for the web. You learned to consult. Instruct. Now you or your team can handle pretty much anything thrown your way but you want more then that project you did 8 months ago (or you want to do it again because you know you can do it better and faster :).

It is a natural progression in any industry, new hires come in, top end people retire and everyone else moves up a rung. But the web is a little different. And that's going to be the topic for a small series of posts in the Working on the Web category here on Fiftyfoureleven.

So, what's your business plan?

Comments and Feedback

As a freelancer is hard to have a business plan and I can bet most of us do not really have a business plan and do not know what will be doing in the next year not to mention next 5 years.. I know it is not very normal but I guess this is the way things are...

To be honest, the reason I became a freelancer is so I could *avoid* having a business plan! I realize that I might be able to substantially increase my income if I put more time and effort into the nuts and bolts of my career -- but that would also increase my stress level and it wouldn't be any fun. I'm making enough to pay the bills and enjoy life and put some away for retirement, and that's plenty good enough for me right now.

I have a business plan. People are more willing to give you money if you have one.

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