Generating income with web development/design skills without having the client too much involved in the process?


Almost every client thinks that design is something subjective, and they often get involved in UI and UX design decisions too much. Most of the time, the situation turns like this comic.

I realised some ways of minimising this hassle:

  • Focusing on web development (here the client can't interference much).
  • Selling templates (like Wordpress themes).
  • Starting one's own website and generate income with ads.

Any other suggestions?

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asked Mar 3 '11 at 11:48
134 points

3 Answers


If you are in the business of selling website to clients, here is what I would do:

  • Sell yourself as the professional developer/designer - You're the one with skills. You need to convince your clients you know more than them and they should listen to your thoughts.
  • Sell Wordpress themes - ThemeForest has over 3000+ themes, and when you factor in different color variations, I would guess they have over 500,000. Sell your clients on Wordpress, tell them you will customize any theme they want, and you are willing to put X hours into the process for a flat rate. If you go under the hours, that is the flat rate. If you go over because they wanted work, SURE! But it's going to cost them by the hour. Once you start charging, people shut up.
  • You need to remember people are generally buying your knowledge and not your hours as web developer. You've spent countless free hours learning how to do your trade and be swift, so you should make money on that.
answered Mar 4 '11 at 02:07
Andy Cook
2,309 points


Unfortanately the comic pointed out in your link are the exact reality. Web design can be an extremly frustrating job for technical introspective guy, it's hard to convince people that your design is the right one, that your are the expert of design. Customers think they know everything about graphic design.

From an enginnering point of view I can tell you that selling graphic design is something of completly different than selling technical know how.
I completly realized this when I tried to do a partnership with a Graphic design agency and I went at their office to talk to them.

I immediately understood what Graphic Designers sell: they sell themselves 1st! They are all well dressed, even their office is reflecting the design in the furnitures they choose and in how they set it up. I also assisted them once when they were talking to a customer who wanted a paper catalog designed by them. They are good in convincing the customer they are great designers, they are the best, and last but not least they can ask a fear price for their job.

Then I went back to my office and looked at it, mine is a cheap IKEA office. I'm an enginner, I'm more introspective person, I'm not good in selling stuff talking to people and convincing them I'm the best graphic design. It's not something bad it's how I am, and I like to be like this.

Unfortuantely my business model can not grow if I rely on web design, because it needs what I explained above, a different way of being, it needs more being good sellers than good technical guy.

Once I understood this I simply realized that the only way to make money for me is to sell stuff on the interent, and on that side I'm quite good in it. I can concentrate myself in what I'm good at: doing a nice modern looking website, with technical knowledge of how to push the visitors to action etc, etc.

I noticed I started having good results both in terms of orders (money) and also in terms of self confidence. And last but not least I stopped to feel frustrated by idious customer (like the one in the comic) that most times do not understand the value of a website and they just poke their nose in graphic filling it up with tons of crap ideas (and sadly they expect you not to charge them for all those graphic revisions, or even worst they heard the friend of they sister's of their hunt that is unenployed and does website for fun for 100$, so they think you are scerwing them up already).

answered Mar 4 '11 at 21:54
Marco Demaio
175 points
  • I'm already starting my own website. I got enough. – Alexchenco 13 years ago


It's not a total solution, but a big part of your job needs to be selling your design. You can't just throw a design in front of your client and expect them to fall in love.

When you present your designs talk them through you decisions. There will still be unhappy clients, but it will make your designs go over better for the most part, and the times that a client disagrees at least you have a starting point for a dialog about what to change.

answered Mar 4 '11 at 01:39
Justin C
838 points

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