5 Must-Have Tools And Resources For A Web Design Or Programming Startup

 5 Must-Have Tools And Resources For A Web Design Or Programming Startup

Anyone can spend all day fiddling with code and creating basic HTML games, deeming themselves a “professional developer” in the process, but until you actually start making money with it, it's really nothing more than a glorified hobby. So you've made the commitment to start marketing your programming and/or web design skills to prospective clients, but other than “doing a good job” and delivering on project specifications, you have no clue where to start. Don't worry, you're not alone.


The web design and programming industries have become flooded to the point of saturation with new talent and 'wantrepreneurs' trying to capitalize on templates and other gimmicks. Still, that doesn't mean it's impossible to succeed. In fact, with the help of the following resources, a bit of common sense, and a quality product/service to offer, anyone can be well on their way to launching a successful web design or programming startup:

Accounting And CRM Software


The goal of every startup should be to operate at true capacity, and when that is achieved you'll undoubtedly have the need for an accounting and/or customer relationship management software. These tools will help you manage the financial aspect of collecting payments while also making it easier to keep track of prospective leads. 

One of the most popular solutions in the design and programming niche is Sage accounting software because it's loaded with a variety of modules that handle every aspect of financial and customer management. Plus, many developers stick with Sage Certified Partners because everything they offer is backed by ongoing support and customization, so it's a more personalized and developer-friendly solution than simply jumping for popular names like Quicken.


Design Search Engines, Vector/Graphic Collections, And Stock Photo Libraries


A good developer knows that outside inspiration always leads to greater innovation, which is why it's imperative to have access to an expansive collection of designs, templates, vectors, graphics, images, plugins, and other design components. The object is to become a wizard of web design, with a library that is not only extensive but which you also know how to browse and make the most of. Sites like Nice, VectorFinder, Visual.ly, Dribble, and Creattica should be embedded in your bookmarks. 

In fact, you should spend a considerable amount of your spare time becoming familiar with all of the web's best design resources. Tackling this area of exploration alone should keep you busy for at least a week if you're serious about knowing your craft like the back of your hand. It's also a good idea to introduce your colleagues and co-creators to these resources if the startup is going to be a team effort.

Access To Freelancing Sites And Forums


Now that you have a way to accommodate an overwhelming amount of business as well as a practically limitless amount of inspiration and design features to pull from, it's time to grab the bull by the horns and go get your first clients. You could try approaching and calling randomly targeted business owners, but that's not going to be nearly as effective as applying for projects and positions on freelancing marketplaces and forums. 

In the early stages of the startup you should be focusing on generating revenue and momentum as quickly as possible, and the best way to do that is to go where there's already an obvious demand for your services, rather than wandering around pitching to people who might not even be interested in what you're offering. Some of the top freelancing sites you might want to sign up for include Up work, Freelancer, 99designs, and PeoplePerHour. Again, you could spend a considerable amount of time just browsing these sites for new projects, so there's definitely no shortage of jobs and clients to be had.


Designer And Template Marketplaces


Aside from forums and freelancing markets, there are also several platforms where you can find programming and design work regularly, with the most popular being Envato Studio, Codeable, and AwesomeWeb. Envato Studio actually owns a number of large design marketplaces like ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, so starting with that platform alone can take you places if theme development is your niche. 

These marketplaces provide booming avenues that will help you spread brand awareness and create a presence in your niche. As such, you not only get the short-term benefits of making the occasional sale by listing your templates and designs, you also obtain the exposure that could result in more lead inquiries in the near future.

Invoicing And Time-Tracking Tools


Once you have a steady stream of work coming in. you need an efficient and organized way to keep track of invoicing and the time spent on each task. Time tracking is not only important when charging by the hour, it's also a necessary measure to take when meeting deadlines and staying productive are high priorities. 

Fortunately, there are literally dozens of time-tracking apps to choose from, so you should have no problem finding one that suits your team's needs and preferences. Some of the more popular time-tracking solutions include Toggle, Everhour, Paydirt, Timely, Tyme, ATracker, Eternity Time, My Minutes, and TimeSheet.

Combining All Of The Above For A Well-Rounded Arsenal


In any business endeavor, you should strive to go into the challenge as equipped as possible. With the tools listed above, you'll be in an ideal position to maximize productivity, optimize workflow, and appeal to a broad range of clients right out of the gate. Of course, you could just try to land your first project as a solo developer, but that would be more of a freelancing effort that an actual team-managed “startup.” 

If your aim is to start an actual company that will be able to accommodate a high volume of work in an efficient manner, there's no doubt that you'll benefit from all of the perks mentioned above. Finally, don't forget to use all of the above channels to push traffic and exposure to your own website, which should obviously look highly impressive to serve as an example of your design skills.

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