How I Run a Globally Distributed Web Design Company from My Home

Business & Strategy

The modern world is pretty insane. Prior to my dad’s death in 2001, he was a programmer for a firm called Authur Anderson. He and my mom were divorced; I spent many awesome weekends with him, though. 

I’ll never forget when he broke the news: He received an offer that he could not refuse and took the new job, which required a move all the way from South Jersey to Bradenton, Florida (about 1,000 miles away).

Needless to say, this was well before the days of remote work being “normal.” I think you could argue we’re not quite there yet. But for someone doing programming or design work, it’s hard to imagine a world where there wasn’t really a practical option to do remote work. 

What My Team Looks Like

Today, I run my own web design agency, with team members literally all over the planet. It is amazing. 

I live in North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Charlotte. 

Samuel, Brian, and Jeline live in the Philippines. 

Samuel is my lead web designer. He implements the designs my UX designer provides after we get approval from the client. He’s an incredible worker and quite literally is the backbone of my entire operation. 

Brian is my project manager. He keeps all of the pieces moving, makes sure clients know where things stand, and interfaces between all members of the team. 

Jeline handles all of my social media. She’ll take this post and create different versions to broadcast across social. As much as I want to love social media, I just don’t. She makes sure I stay relevant and does a great job. 

Dakota is my UX designer. He’s from Southern California. After a client responds to the new project questionnaire we send, Dakota takes the reigns and begins working on an initial mockup. Once approved, we move into the rest of the project. 

Christian is my developer and is a Dutchman living in Brazil. He is an absolute genius and always brings a fantastic solution to the table when we need to cross into an area of more sophisticated programming or design.

The Power of a Global Team

There are many incredible advantages to this sort of setup. For one, there are no offices. No clocking in or out. No mandatory work hours. I didn’t like it when I was beholden to it, and am thrilled to run the kind of business that does not require it (I realize others do not have that luxury). 

To be honest, the fact that we track time is a bit suboptimal. While we don’t really do hourly billing, we do need to in some cases, and this requires us to track time across the projects we work on. 

(Huge shout to TeamTime who make time tracking insanely simple.)

Another advantage is the ability to effectively bring a 24 hour work schedule to your business. And because we use Basecamp to manage our projects, and our clients can join us there as well, I feel confident that someone is always looking out for my clients, even when I can’t be there or might miss an important notification. 

All of this happens from my daughter’s bedroom – my office, until she gets old enough to use it 😅

It’s crazy—businesses fear going remote because of the culture. But the honest truth is that I feel far more connected to this team, who live all over the world, than I felt to almost anyone I shared an office with in prior jobs. 

We communicate in long-form. We talk every day. We laugh. We strategize. It’s an absolute blast. I don’t have to worry about finding talent in my immediate geographic area. I have the luxury of finding gems like Brian, who was a great project manager but had never worked with a web design team, and in short order became an absolute rockstar in the role. 

If you are fortunate enough to do the sort of work that allows this arrangement, do it. Find a tool (like Basecamp) you can use to tie the team together and get everyone on the same page. I think you’ll love it and what it makes possible. 

About Me

 
Hey, I’m Steve Schramm. I write about marketing, design, business strategy, and productivity. This blog is my personal “cookbook” to help you design a healthier business through self-directed learning.

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