While you’re running your own web design agency, you have many varying demands on your time. There’s the marketing, admin, onboarding, and of course, getting client work done.
There’s also a host of distractions that eat up time. And we all know, time is money.
In this post, I’ll share the top ways I’ve wasted time as a business owner, and why I avoid these time wasters now.
If you’re just getting started, read How Do I Start A Website Design Business?
1) Getting caught up in meaningless details
This one is about balance.
Miss a detail and you might tank your client’s SEO (like the time I discouraged search engines from indexing when I took a site live). Don’t do that.
On the other hand, your web design clients don’t really care about the line spacing you’ve spent an hour tweaking on multiple devices.
Ask yourself: Will this detail I’m spending time on help my client grow their business?
If the answer is yes, that’s a detail worth focusing work hours on.
If not, it’s a time waster.
2) Spying on your old web design clients
Tempted to check out an old client’s new website?
“I wouldn’t have done that. This should be different,” then you go down the rabbit trail of clicking on the “Designed by” link in the footer and checking out the new agency.
It’s natural as a web designer to be curious about client’s websites, but ultimately this is just another poor use of your time.
Instead, focus on serving your current clients well and you’ll have fewer past clients to spy on.
No point reliving past mistakes, or decisions out of your control. There’s no energy there to move forward.
3) Being your own accountant
Trying to do my own accounting for my own web design business was a super time waster for me.
Here’s two reasons why:
1. Accounting is easy to outsource. I thought I was saving myself time and money, but I don’t understand the rules. It’s too easy to outsource this for a few hours of work to someone who will make sure it’s right.
2. I screwed up my accounting for the first 3 years in business by spending time doing it myself. I had to pay an accountant to review all of my past files, sort everything, then refile 3 years worth of sales tax and income tax.
Forget it. Contract it to an accountant right away and save yourself time, and money.
We’re web professionals, not accountants. Remember that!
4) Social media without a strategy
If your social media presence creates connection with people who are potential clients, go for it.
Otherwise, your social media hobby is wasting time.
If you can’t answer the question “Who is my audience on this network and what’s my strategy to connect with my prospective client?” then don’t fool yourself.
I use Twitter because I mentor web designers and freelancers working to build their agency, and that’s a platform where my prospective client spends time.
5) Dabbling in ALL THE THINGS
- Email Newsletter
- FB Ads
- Text Messages
- The next social channel
None of these are time wasters but if you’re dabbling in a bunch and not executing a strategy, then that dabbling is not an effective use of your time.
If you have or can build an audience in one area, get that going, go all in, build a strategy around your personal brand and execute before you dabble in the next thing.
Don’t waste time quitting something and trying something new until you’re sure the first is not the right path.
6) Sticking with something that’s not working in your web design business
I’m not necessarily the best person to give input on this point. I admit I do have a tendency to quit something too soon when things don’t explode right away.
But I also know that sticking with something that’s not working is a time-waster.
If you’re spending days or weeks on a time consuming new project, and you suspect it may be headed nowhere, ask a colleague for feedback. Be open to hearing that you’re not heading in the right direction and be willing to shift course.
7) Always starting new projects
Like chasing all of the different strategies, chasing a new idea, brand, product, saas, affiliate store, and whatever else, can be distracting.
My rule: Let it sit for 7 days.
Then check in with yourself and ask: Am I as excited about this now as I was when I bought the domain (for example)?
Let one project really get some steam and start having results, before you jump into something new.
8) Indulging your own excuses
Your best excuse is like a bridge. Get over it.
Write it on a sticky note and light it on fire. Make a video of yourself explaining your excuse, then watch it back and tell yourself how ridiculous it is.
Whatever it is, focus on what needs to get done.
9) Everyone’s favorite time waster: procrastination
The work will get done – either by you or by someone else. Don’t waste time putting it off and then stressing to get it done.
Procrastination gets nothing done, and keeps your business from growing the way you want.
Instead, use a project management tool, study time management and productivity hacks, and get the work done.
BONUS) Not selling your web design clients a monthly service contract
Want to spend your career trying to make a sale every month or panicking when no sales equals no income?
Sell your existing clients a service plan to keep their websites working for them and your business working for you.
If you’re not building recurring income whenever you make a sale, you’re throwing time away. That signed contract is like money in the bank that allows you to reach your long-term goals.
Eventually, as a business owner, one of the key factors to financial success is creating a way to make passive income.
While you have your client’s attention, don’t waste it by missing that part of the sale.
When you quote the project, spend time wisely talking about your monthly service plan too.
You’ll be far less successful going back to clients later to suggest they need monthly website service.
Instead, tell new clients upfront that a monthly service plan is part of how your web design service works.
Bonus 2) creating content without a call to action
It’s a waste for you and a waste for your reader if you don’t give them an opportunity to follow up and connect further.
If you’re going to spend time crafting valuable content, whether it’s on your website page, blog or social media, be sure to always direct your readers to take the next step with a clear and concise call to action.
Need to chat about one of these ideas? Send me an email. Let’s figure this out together!
Ready to stop wasting time in your web design business?
Anything you do manually more than once a month can easily become a system.
Anything that brings results every time you do it can be a system.
Let’s talk about which system you can start with to save time and scale your agency – send me an email or leave a comment.
You’ll also want to check out my 31-Point WordPress Website Launch Checklist to help you create processes to ensure you’re always doing your best work and not wasting time that costs you money.