Business of web design – 35 tips from James Archer @ SXSW07

James Archer CEO of Forty Media talked at SXSW07 about his tips on issues affecting web professionals. Here are my notes on the key topics he discussed. You can download the full podcast @

  1. Limit your services
  2. Find a role model
  3. Don’t be flaky to your clients (stay dedicated, and follow through)
  4. Document your success
    “the hard part is growing your business and making other people understand what is good about your business.”
  5. Don’t trust your own brain – write things down or you’ll forget
  6. Don’t let your clients follow up with you – you should five them updates before they get a chance
  7. Don’t let your colleagues follow up with you – become reliable so that when they ask for something they know it will get done
  8. Talk to people you don’t know
  9. Always be teaching (tutorial marketing)
  10. Beware of perfection – cost of perfection is high
  11. Avoid free projects
  12. Don’t waste money on stuff you don’t need
  13. Don’t let yourself get ripped off. You shouldn’t get to a point where its done and you haven’t received any money – create contracts
  14. Be firm with your clients
  15. Don’t jump through hoops for clients especially for unpaid work upfront
  16. Shape clients ideas so that they think they thought of it
  17. Don’t bill by the hour, clients should be paying for you doing it right which is based on experience, qualifications etc.
  18. Track your time
  19. Honour your commitments and keep deadlines
  20. Understand the physics of a project
  21. Build your portfolio – don’t do work that you cant put in your portfolio
  22. Use the right tools
  23. Differentiate and find your own niche and be good at it
  24. Set company principles
  25. Be excited about your work
  26. Be straight with your clients
  27. Always do whats right
  28. Plan for the future – think long and short term
  29. Plan your work and work your plan
  30. Customers should come second, employees and yourself should come first
  31. Treat every dollar that you get from your business as an investment
  32. Treat your clients like you love them. Don’t treat them like a number, figure out how you can make them successful because if they are successful you will be successful
  33. Create solid contracts
  34. If you work at it you will succeed
  35. Take time to play to keep the creative juices flowing

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