From Freelancer To Founder: An Interview With Luxurious Web Design’s Founder Nickie Rowley

  • Published on:
    December 18, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes
Nickie Nick aka Nickie Rowley is an entrepreneur & Founder/CEO of Luxurious Web Design. Women On Topp

Nickie Nick aka Nickie Rowley is an entrepreneur & Founder/CEO of Luxurious Web Design.

While attending college Nickie learned to code websites on a legacy version of PuTTY (SSH and telnet client for Windows OS) & a few months after, launched herself as a freelancer offering web development services. She would apply to 50+ classifieds postings per day, and with minimal responses, she did the unthinkable after 3 months of applying & relaunched herself under the representation of a company. She felt that if businesses knew they were supported by a technology infrastructure offering all-inclusive options instead of a stand-alone freelancer, they would hire her…and it worked! Businesses needed branding, websites, applications, & search engine optimization…and out of millions of suppliers, wanted to work with Luxurious Web Design.

Over the past 7 years while simultaneously earning her Bachelors + Masters degrees, obtaining 10+ technical certifications, & working as an IT Project Manager for Fortune 500 companies, such as Northrop Grumman, and BP, Nickie built & scaled Luxurious Web Design by implementing global marketing strategies, executing complex scopes of work, and driving technical expansion efforts. Her organization has serviced clients in 20+ industries internationally, consulted multi-million-dollar businesses, and currently serves as a market leader in web development.

Nickie has a brand that is literally a summary of her lifestyle… passion, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. 

“Create Always, and Think All Ways”

What your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

The company was founded in 2009. I was a full-time student enrolled in college and technical competency coupled with design resonated with me. I learned to code as a part of my majors’ curriculum, which didn’t yield if even 10% of the experience I needed, but I tried to secure web development gigs anyway. When I did apply, rarely would I get responses, so curiously one day I posted a gig to test the market and I got 50+ responses. Out of the submissions only 10% were companies; the other 90% were freelancers. I began to do my research and saw that in my college city there were very few web design agencies and wanted to cater to that demand, so launched Luxurious Web Design.

The inspiration for the name comes from wanting to disassociate luxury from unaffordability and tangible products. B2B and B2C services could also encompass extravagance and without breaking the bank. It’s a premium service, that increases your value; that’s what luxury is to us.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t just focus on what you sell, make sure you learn the fundamentals of business. Understand economics (supply and demand), finance (revenue, overhead, profit margins), marketing (target market) sales (strategies), human resources (people), supply chain (distribution), and the law. A business is not products and services, but the structure that allows them to be made, disseminated, sold, and enhanced.

What traits do you like when building a team?

A high level of skill or the potential to have it is crucial, thus in this field having solid subject matter experts or lack thereof could make or break a business. I look for diversity and a balance in working styles and personalities, as culture is defined by the people who work for the company. Also, ambition is extremely attractive because I want my team to desire success individually and for our clients.

What advice would you offer someone considering the career of a web developer?

First, consider getting a degree in Computer Engineering or Information Technology/Systems, as nothing beats a 360° overview of how technology works holistically. If you can understand the infrastructure, systems, networks, and tools that “sing” together, this allows you to program better because you also understand computer architecture. Second, consider if you ‘d like to specialize such as becoming a Python (back end component) developer or a full stack developer where you do both back-end coding and front-end design (user interfacing), which is typically what I look to hire. Third, take courses and certification training on how to master your craft. Lastly, practice as much as possible. The best advice is to pick a few advanced websites and see if you can recreate them; from project hours estimation to developing user flows to the functionality build and then securing the site.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We love Atlassian tools – specifically JIRA for project tracking. Also, we use the Adobe Suite religiously. 

What do you do to attract and retain customers?

We learn about an organization’s goals, and we offer our services as tools that coincide with achieving them. Additionally, we’re keen on educating that what we render is not a one-time service, but a working relationship where we continually maintain, market, and enhance what we’ve developed. It’s a hybrid blend of knowing what the customer initially wants while also catering to recurring needs in the future. 

What challenges do you face in your work?

The #1 problem is when businesses haven’t designed the inner workings of their business model, so it makes it harder for us to develop tools that supports undefined processes. We do render business development consultation, which really helps out a lot for those that do sign up for this option.

What does designing your own life mean to you?

100% constructing a life that works for me and doing so freely and authentically. The only life I mirror is the one in mine.

How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?

Focus on what happy means for you. Want to start that business? Do It. Don’t want to be a mom? You don’t have to. Desire to move to another country alone? Buy those tickets. There’s the preconceived notion that women are _____ (insert stereotype), now erase it. Your gender does not define your aptitude and your fulfillment starts with you identifying what works for you and brings optimal joy.  

What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?

Any aspect of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The wave of the future is vested in what we can do within these disciplines and quite often there’s an underrepresentation of women. If women are at the forefront in this space, it helps to build and secure a position for us there in the future.

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