While it seems like the web design industry as a whole is doing pretty well during this economic hardship, there is always a need to cutback on expenses. On top of that, there is always a need to make more money. Funny thing is, if you cut back on your expenses, you can actually add a little more income to your bottom line.
Major corporations have teams of people who’s only job is to find out how to save the company money be getting rid of unnecessary expenses. Unfortunately, we as freelancers don’t have that luxury. Lucky for those freelancers who read this blog though, I am going to share with you a few ways to save money and in turn help you make a little more.
1. Replace Online Apps with Desktop Alternatives
I love online apps as much as the next guy. Hell, I probably love them a little more. I download and buy apps like there is no tomorrow. While many of those apps have what may seem like a low monthly price, they can add up quick. Do yourself a favor and replace as many of them as possible with desktop alternatives. Yes, the desktop alternatives might cost more up front, but they will pay for themselves in the long run. I’m not saying you need to get rid of all of them, but at least the ones that aren’t a crucial part of how your business operates.
If you can’t get by without a certain online app, but really want to cut back on expenses, see if there is some way you can drop down your subscription a level. You might have to get fancy with the way you use the app, but I assure you there are ways to make free and limited version of online apps go farther than you think. You just have to get creative.
Here are some desktop alternatives:
- Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006
- Macware MacFreelance
- Microsoft Project Standard 2007
- Omnioutliner Professional 3.0
- Omnigraffle 5 Professional
2. Join Rewards Programs
We as designers have a constant need, or want, for new technology gadgets and software. If we must spend money on these sorts of things, it only makes sense to do so at places that reward you for it. For example, BestBuy offers a rewards program that gives you gift certificates every time you reach a certain amount of points. So long as you redeem the gift certificates for things you actually need for your business and not the latest box set of Weeds, you’ll be buying more wisely.
This of course doesn’t have to be limited to electronics. You can search out rewards programs for anything from food to office supplies. Odds are, there is probably a rewards program out there for just about anything you buy a lot of.
Here are a few popular rewards programs:
3. Stop Using Your Credit Card
I won’t tell you had bad credit cards are. I’m sure money of you know already, so I’ll leave that be. The main reason I am making this suggestion is because Im sure many of you that buy things online or pay for your online app subscriptions do so with a credit card. Even with the best interest rate, this means you end up paying more for the app than you need to. My suggestion for this problem is to make use of PayPal Plugin that can generate single and multi-use credit cards. This way you get the ability to use a credit card to pay your online amounts, but without the steep interest rate.
Not to mention that by bypassing your credit card this way, you have a better chance of actually getting your credit card paid off faster because you won’t have new charges on it every month!
4. Haggle, Barter, and Ask
Everyone is feeling the hurt of these tough economic times. Because of this, even the largest companies are willing to do just about anything to keep you as a customer. Use this to your advantage while you can. For starters, if you use a credit card, call and try to get them to lower your interest rate. You can read more on this here.
Credit cards aside, you should also look into the services you use regularly like internet services and phone services. Many ISP are willing to give you the newer rates and specials the have running if you sign a new contract. Call your ISP and see what they have going on. Comcast is really good about this, if you have Comcast, all you have to do is call and ask if they have any specials that are to your benefit and they will take care of you.
Phone service is another thing you can barter with a lot. If you use a house line with a major utility company like AT&T, call them and tell them that you are going to switch to a VOiP services or to another company with a better deal. Odds are they will either match the price or give you more services than you currently have for the same price.
Remember, it never hurts to ask.
5. Trade Services and Partner Up
Whiel many of use are Jacks of many trades, there is always someone out there who can do some things better. Rather doing something sub-par yourself, or having to outsource, why not see if said designer or developer may be willing to trade services? Maybe you need a logo and you can find a designer that needs a website?
Likewise, networking and partnering up with others who provide complimentary services can be a great way for you to make more money and maybe even save money. If you end up sending enough work to someone you partner up with, they are likely to give you a better, discounted rate.