Providing web design and digital auxiliary services is not as easy or as profitable as it seems, especially for small business owners without any experience in the field. Here are the issues to consider and pitfalls to avoid so you don’t get overwhelmed and overtaken by the challenges that even the biggest tech companies are struggling with today.
1. Clients don’t just want you to design their website and be done. They will expect you to host, maintain, and update it. It’s one thing to design a website. It’s another thing to become a full-service digital auxiliary services provider where clients will want you to maintain, update, and manage their website for them. Even if they are “trained” to do it themselves, clients are going to want, need, and expect additional training and troubleshooting from you, the provider.
2. Clients will expect 24-hour on-call service … NOW! Because of the nature of the 24/7 nature of the Internet, when any issue arises with their website, clients will expect you to be there for them. Not tomorrow during the day. Not Monday morning. But NOW! By designing their website, you are entering into an agreement (whether you want to or not) where clients will need you to address any issues that come up at any given time. And even if this isn’t what you signed up for, they will still have those expectations of you and it could adversely affect your relationship with them if you aren’t on-call for them to handle their website.
3. Providing digital auxiliary services comes with increased liability including data collection, security, and following regulations such as GDPR. This is a very volatile time for website design and management, particularly on the data collection and security side of things. The United Kingdom has just passed GDPR regulations and already some of the biggest tech companies in the world such as Google and Facebook are being forced to deal with the fallout. If you are a small business owner, the last thing you want is to expose your business to the liabilities that come with providing digital auxiliary services. Do you really want to have to spend your precious time dealing with data collection and security issues?
Also, if you happen to design a retail website for a customer that involves taking and processing credit card payments online, as the digital auxiliary services provider you will have to make 100% sure that all credit card information and personal data is secure and not prone to hacking. The truth is that taking on web design services is very difficult in today’s environment, and the risks can outweigh the rewards especially if you are providing that service without really knowing the ins and outs of the technology and the industry.
In addition, partnering with a proclaimed expert in the field of digital auxiliary services does not limit your liability to these regulations or lessen the demand of a 24/7 service. Technical assistants and service providers are not always available and their delay quickly becomes your problem.
4. Is jumping into web design and digital auxiliary services worth the time, effort, training, and staffing you would need for multiple clients? Don’t forget that if you open yourself up to providing web design and digital auxiliary services to your clients, you will need to manage all of their websites, all of their issues, and all of their data collection and security measures at any time anything happens. That will certainly add up to a whole lot of extra time, effort, training, and staffing, which will mean increased overhead costs that can hurt your bottom line. Is it really worth it when you can run a successful business without all of the hassle and the headaches?
At the end of the day, becoming a digital auxiliary services provider or web designer is not an ideal situation for an aspiring small business owner who doesn’t have the experience or background to deal with all of the different issues and pitfalls that may arise when entering such a time-consuming, volatile, and increasingly regulated market.
It is important to think very carefully about the potential service hours and liabilities involved, especially when this is an ancillary service that you do not need and may not want to provide to run a successful design, marketing, and printing business.