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A series of interviews with ordinary people making extra cash a reality…

This month, Sian Griffiths tells us about her web design business

So, Sian, how does it all work?

‘I run a web design business from home.  I have a disability which means it’s really difficult for me to go out to work but after getting my degree in graphic design I wanted to put it to good use!  A friend suggested I go it alone and I’ve never looked back.  I get to chat to people that I would never have met otherwise and as my own boss, I can choose to work on the laptop in the garden on a sunny day without being yelled at – bliss!  I’m hoping to take on some staff in the next year or so as the work load is beginning to get a bit much for me on my own.  Not that I’m complaining about that!’

How easy is it to do?

‘The mechanics of it are pretty easy one you get the hang of it.  The difficult part can be keeping the design ideas fresh, especially as I work alone.  I’m hoping that when I expand and take on some staff, that side of things will get easier as we bounce ideas around and challenge each other’s thinking.’

What sort of profit do you make?

Each website would be priced according the level of design needed, the deadlines involved and any unusual features requested for the site.  I manage to make a good living though and am really pleased about that.  As my home is my office, I save on expenses there and, of course, I haven’t got to pay for the daily commute!  On average I make £2,000 a month but that’s increasing all the time.’

What are the advantages of earning money in this way?

‘For me, the advantages of being my own boss are huge.  If I don’t feel up to working until mid-day then I don’t!  I always put the hours in, though and will often work into the evening.  There is no point in starting your own business if you are not going to do the work.  I also love that I can be creative in my work.  Clients will often call up with ideas of how they want their site to look, but when I present them with a few other options they will often go with something completely different.  I find it very satisfying that my ideas are taken on-board and really appreciated by my clients.’

What are the pitfalls to earning money this way?

As with any business, there is no guaranteed income.  The first years can be tough as you are waiting for the next job to come in and watching your cash dwindle in the meantime.  I’m in a good position now with plenty of design and re-design work coming in but I know I might not always be that lucky.  I’m trying to constantly evolve with the market so I will continue to thrive.’

So what are your tips for someone who wants to become a web designer?

‘Persevere.  And advertise widely.  You can’t just rely on business from your own little area as hopefully, the web-sites you design are going to be up and running for a long time – at least, until they need a re-design and you get to do it all again!’