Website Design Business Model - How to Build A Successful Web Design Business
February 21, 2021

I’m super excited about this video: I’m talking about setting up your web design studio for success. I’m gonna walk you through the entire breakdown of how the services we offer are married to our passive income streams and how—even when we don’t have clients—we can still make a great buck every single month and create that monthly revenue that every agency is looking for, absolutely free.

So let’s jump in. I’m gonna show you the process, and I’m gonna break it down.

The Website Design Business Model

So I got a bit of a diagram. This is a platform called draw.io, it’s a free platform that integrates with Google Drive and you can create these cool diagrams to showcase your work, or your process, or even your funnels.

1. Web Design Agency

So we’re starting at the top: Web Design Agency: this is the catalyst for everything that we do. I am a web designer and I own the agency called 5four Digital. We focus on branding, design, development—mostly, Webflow and Shopify sites.

So, with that said, this is the catalyst—this is at the top level, right? So this almost acts like the brainchild of your entire business, that runs everything through it. 

2. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

And right under that, we have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). These are the step-by-step breakdown of everything that you do in the business. Whether you do the design elements, design system, branding, design development, you want to start to systematize your business by creating a process.

2a. Add Definitive Steps

Now what you can do with that process is, one: add definitive steps on the things you do within the agency. Then it also allows you to delegate to part-timers, full-timers, independent contractors—wherever you’re at in the business, this is going to help you scale your efforts.

So, once you have your agency, you need to start implementing operating procedures.

2b. Break Processes Down Into Segments

As y’all can see here, this is our operating procedures document that we use internally at the agency, all of our systems run through it, and then what we do is we break down everything by segments.

So if we look at a job, for example: this is our training on web development and running quality assurance audits. I always have these step-by-step directions, so I can delegate to a team member, and then it also has video training on YouTube. 

2c. Video Training

And on video training, I usually have the breakdown of a process. So on the left-hand side, you can see me performing those  tasks, and on the right-hand side, you can see these operating procedures. 

Now, I do offer a course on this and more, but I wanna make sure that we stick to this process, so you can kinda understand the breakdown. 

So start to think about your web design agency and really systematize the processes within it, so you can build and delegate, alright? So you can delegate control, but you’re still maintaining your proprietary system by creating the operating procedures. So to reiterate: left-hand side is me doing the actual task, right-hand side is the step-by-step breakdown of that task.

3. Breakdown of Services

Now, next step. So you have your agency, now you’re starting to build your operating procedures, now you’re kinda getting into a bit of a flow, right? Now, right after that, you have your services. 

3a. Web Design

So now that you have your operating procedures within the agency, now you have web design. That’s probably your main service—where you’re designing websites. You’re either doing user interfaces, you may be doing competitive analysis, and you’re helping clients—in our case, startups—build their business.

3b. Branding & Web Development

Secondly, we have branding. With branding, this is design systems and things like that. And then, on the third side, we have web development. So web design is actually creating the overall look and feel, development is actually developing the code around that to create that digital product. So that’s the breakdown. 

So if you look at our agency, for example: our services are Branding & Strategy—that includes market research, we’re doing brand guidelines, top-of-bill stuff like business cards and collateral. And then, when it comes to web design, back to wireframe and prototyping, creating custom integrations. 

3c. Management & UI/UX

And then, Management: just managing that site. And then, you also have UI/UX, which is just interface and architecture and all that good stuff. I won’t go into too much craziness with that.

So, again at the top: Web Design Agency, Standard Operating Procedure, and then right under that, Web Design, Branding, and Web Development. So this is the overall architecture of your agency.

4. Details of Web Design Agency Services

4a. Wireframes

Now, if you want to get details into each of these—Web Design. We have wireframes, right? You can do low fidelity, you can do high fidelity—which is actually what the site will look like.

And I now can show you an example of one of those. This is a high fidelity wireframe that we’re creating for a client. As you can see, it has all the parts and the design is pretty clean and consistent. 

Now, when it comes to low fidelity, we’re looking at something more so like this—where it has the content and overall architecture of the site. But I didn’t necessarily have that content. So it’s just to give the client a visual. So that’s that part of the process.

4b. UI/UX

Then you have UI/UX: User Interface or User Experience, creating that visual experience that users will benefit from and call them to convert into a customer. And then also, under that we have Web Design Strategy—which could be competitive analysis and all that good stuff.

4c. Design Systems

Then under Branding, we have Design Systems, which can be brand identity, logo, collateral, visual assets. I can show you an example of that as well. And those are the components that help give a consistent branding, look and feel of your company.

So if I click this, for example, we have brand guidelines here that we created for clients. And that’s so we could give them the design architecture of that site.

4d. Webflow & Shopify

So, with that said, we also have Web Development, where we focus on Webflow and Shopify. As a web design agency, you want to make sure that you’re niching down to two specific services or specific client types. Because as you niche down, you could increase your cost, increase your price, and it could make it easier to make those standard operating procedures because you’ll have set systems in place to delegate and scale.

5. How to Generate Passive Income

So now, the most important piece—or the last piece is Passive Income. I’m gonna spend a little bit more time here because I want to make sure I can ingrain this to your brain. Web design agency owners have an issue of, “If I don’t have clients, I can’t make income, I can’t create wealth for my business, I can’t scale.”

Now, what you have to do is you have to think and leverage passive income streams in your web design agency. There’s a few ways to do that.

5a. Resell Your Templates and Digital Products

One—you see I’m pointing here towards Brand Identity—you can create templates and digital products that you can resell. 

5b. Resell Your SOPs

So you’ve already created the systems, right? You’ve created standard operating procedures to delegate these processes. Now, what you can do is gift-wrap your process and sell that to other agency owners, or freelancers, or people in your space that are looking to jump in and grow and develop their skills. You can leverage that by charging them money to get that stuff.

6. Examples of Passive Income Streams

So, for example, passive income streams, brand identity, we have logo collateral, visual assets. You can create templates and resell them on the market. There’s a few ways to do that: there’s Theme Forest, there’s tons of platforms that allow you to resell—you can even do it on your own site and use Gumroad or Podia as a platform, and I’ll post those in the comments below so you have access to that.

But ultimately, you want to start visualizing your skill set and create digital products that you can then resell.

Next piece is Standard Operating Procedures, right? You’re creating the procedures in your agency to excel. So what you can now do is you can itemize that, gift-wrap it, and put it into a course, and resell that course to aspiring web design agency owners.

You’re in it every day, you’re developing systems to scale, and you can use those systems by reselling them to other agency owners. That’s also the same for web design strategy, as well as wireframes and site design.

6a. 5four Digital's Templates

So, for example, if you go to our site and you go to Templates, we have free and premium templates that we can sell—and these are all based on our skill sets. 

So, if you’re looking at Webflow, for example, we have a template called ReallyRad. And with ReallyRad, you can download this template for $49. We’ve created this template that you can access, and Webflow has a template database and template platform that people can go in and purchase templates from.

And now, we are working in tandem with a client. We’re also offering templates to other agency owners that can go and purchase that. And well, I hope you create passive income on the backend.

So let’s say you’re having a slow month, you’re not bringing in a ton of clients. Ramp up your promotion of your templates, and make sure that people are looking and seeing what you’re providing. This is going to create a—it compounds over time.

So once you create more templates and more visual products, these things will start to compound and create more and more passive income streams as you grow.

7. Wrapping Up

So, with that said, let me go back and kind of reiterate this. Again, make sure you’re developing operating procedures in your agency, so that way you can resell those, you can scale your efforts, and you can really grow yourself to the point where you can focus on creating high quality content for your audience, bringing people into your funnel, and then delegating a lot of these processes within the biz.

So let me go ahead and recap this really quick. And again, I’m gonna leave it with a question at the end. So, at the top, we have your web design agency; right under that, we have operating procedures; right under that, we have your services, your branding, your web development.

And then you have the breakdown of those services, right? All of the service offerings that you have. And then what you do is you leverage passive income streams, like creating templates for websites, creating brand assets and design assets, systematizing your business and then reselling your services and the things that you provide to an audience that will love it.

So I’m gonna close it with this. I’m gonna leave this comment: “What are you looking to accomplish with your web design agency? Where are you going to start?”

And if you have any questions on standard operating procedures—how to create those, how to delegate, how to create processes—I have a web design studio accelerator. I’ll add it in the comments.

And again, if you have any questions, please let me know. I’m looking forward to y’all. Make sure you hit that Subscribe button, and we’ll chat soon.


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