Small company or freelancer?

It's no secret that CVW Web Design is a vehicle for me, Clive Walker, to sell my freelance web design and development services. Yet, I have deliberately kept this website's tone of voice, and the design/branding, as that of a small company because, well, I am a small company. I run the business and I do most of the website design and development work myself but everything is done through a Ltd company's accounts.

Sometimes, I outsource work to other freelancers and I buy services from other companies but I'm not employing anyone on a full-time basis so perhaps I should have designed the website around me as a freelancer. I don't know the answer to that. However, when I started (way back in 2002) I wanted to persuade people that I could take on website projects for their company and I always assumed that would be easier if CVW Web Design as a company was the main vehicle for that. I didn't think about it too deeply but I never considered using my freelancer skills and, for example, pictures of me as the main design focus of the website - or as the brand for the company.

I know that people have different opinions on this and some people say that a freelancer is misleading people if their website is a small company website. Perhaps it gives the impression that there is more than one of you. Well, that's easily rectified when you talk with people of course.

I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer here. Nowadays, I think I can attract work whether the focus of this website is small company or freelancer. Maybe, I'll change things around when I redesign the site and use the freelancer approach. Has anyone done both? Let me know because I'd be interested to get your thoughts.

Update February 2014: Read about my decision and what I've done about it in Changing Things Up Round Here.

Comments and Responses

  • Gravatar image

    22 Jun 2013 14:51:59

    I’ve been pondering this since I saw the question on Twitter earlier.

    Could you do both? I see lots of social media accounts, guest blog posts, articles etc where people post as themselves, but with a short author bio which says “CEO of…”

    Could that be a way of keeping the personal “Hey, I’m Clive” approach & creating CVW Design the brand?

    I know I’m asking more questions than giving answers, but let me know what you decide

  • Gravatar image

    22 Jun 2013 16:12:00

    @Duncan: Certainly, many people tweet as themselves with a website reflecting their company. My key decision will be whether to go completely down the “I’m Clive” approach. Will be thinking about this over the coming days!

  • Gravatar image

    24 Jun 2013 08:30:00

    Hi Clive,
    Well, I bet you’ll guess my response here ;)

    It’s obviously not a black/white situation as what is right for one person is not right for somebody else. For me, writing “we” all the time (on website copy) began to piss me off as it felt disingenuous – it felt clunky to write that way as well – it felt ‘not me’ – and if I were forced to write in a style I was uncomfortable with, them the copy was unlikely to be good.

    Also, I’m a firm believer in ‘people buy from people’ – for me, the website draws people in – whether they are just searching on Google or validating me. Either way they need to meet me next: and depending on how we get along face to face, we may so business. The face to face meeting is essential. I’m not a high powered sales person, I’m just me; and people can either buy into that or not. This being the case, why not have a website which really reflects you – surely this can only help bring im the punters you want?

    Ps sorry for any typos / on iPhone on train to London

  • Gravatar image

    24 Jun 2013 12:18:00

    @Joel: Thanks for your comment and the Twitter conversation. As you say, it’s not black or white but I’m leaning towards changing this site around at the next redesign. I’m sure you’ll agree that I probably need to ‘mix things up’ a bit.

  • Gravatar image

    25 Jun 2013 11:14:59

    I started my site as a “company” but soon realised that I was in fact selling what I could do, I didn’t want to turn up to meetings with people assuming I was part of a larger company. So my homepage has a picture of me and I try and right as if its coming from me directly. I too am going to shake my site up again so might try and push “me” even harder.

    Good luck and let us know when the shake up happens :)

  • Gravatar image

    25 Jun 2013 11:32:00

    @Paul: Cheers, good to hear how you started and that you are now going along the “me” route. I think I’m going to start along that process by rewriting a couple of my pages and see how they shape up. I’ll tweet/post again when I get something done.

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