Most of the world’s population has gone through the stress and boredom of working in a job for someone else. Sitting behind a desk day after day, with no change or real purpose. Some of those people have decided to throw off their chains and work for themselves. Becoming a freelance web designer is a great way to earn an income and be your own boss.
When you have made the decision to start your new career as a freelance web designer, you need the next few actionable steps to get you on your way. Well read on, your new career awaits you!
Why Web Design And Why Now?
As the world becomes more and more reliant on digital and virtual spaces, so too does every business that wants to survive. Big businesses already know this, and have a digital presence in the way of a website, online store, and social media – but not all of the small ones do. Wherever you live, there are bound to be a whole host of small to medium companies that need to get their foot in the digital door. Especially during this year, more and more people have realized the benefits to being accessible remotely.
Do You Fit The Bill?
Not everyone is cut out to be a freelance web designer. Even if you have already learned the skills, you may not have exactly what it takes to run your own business and get those clients. It’s a pretty cut-throat world out there. Have a look at our mini checklist. If you can tick off most of the boxes, then becoming a freelance web designer is quite possibly the right move for you.
✓ Detail orientated
To design websites for clients, you need to make sure that you pick up even the tiniest of errors or mistakes. When you are working in a corporate, you have a system of backups to help you QA all your work. When you are working for yourself, it’s just you.
You will need to be able to analyze exactly what your clients want. Not all clients are articulate and get across the vision in their heads. You need to be able to translate their words into a beautiful, working, and easily navigated website.
✓ Server and back end knowledge
As a freelance web designer, the odds are that you will need to work and manage the backend of the site yourself. Having knowledge of coding is obviously essential, but so is a knowledge of servers, APIs, SQL, databases, and cybersecurity. Being a self-learner is essential if you are to be successful at going freelance.
✓ Follow Trends
Do you keep up with the latest trends with regards to tech, websites, and all things digital? If you are going to be a freelance web designer, you need to do just that. Take time out each day to read articles and research where technology may be headed, and what is really hot right now.
✓ Good Communicator
Communication is key when it comes to working with clients. You will need to be able to keep them up to date on all stages of their website, as well as communicate your needs to them. Translating their needs is also important, especially if you want to keep them happy.
Softly Does It
Being a freelance web designer is not just about obvious skills. You will need an array of soft skills as well in order to make it in a pretty cut-throat world. Soft skills are the basic human communication skills that we all try to improve on. Here is a quick list of soft skills that one can utilize, no matter what industry or career we are in.
- Problem Solving
How To Become A Freelance Web Designer
Now, with no further ado, we give you the main steps that you need to follow in order to become a freelance web designer.
1. Find a Niche
Every good web designer has a Niche. As the saying goes: “Jack of all trades, master of none.” You want to make sure that you are an expert in your chosen field. Be the person that gets the referrals because you are the “Go-To-Guy” for a particular problem.
For example, you could specialize in websites for hotels, or websites for female entrepreneurs.
Mastering one field doesn’t limit you, it makes you an expert. If you specialize in a certain field, you will quickly become the designer of choice for a multitude of clients.
We recommend using Xtensio’s user personas template to create a visual reference for your target audience. By creating a user persona, you can refer to this audience and determine what their behavior and interests will be for each step in your UX process.
2. Practice WordPress Development
WordPress is huge. It is responsible for a whopping 34% of all websites on the internet, and 60% of sites that use CMS. That’s massive.
The chances are that you will be able to do a lot of websites for clients on WordPress, especially when you are just starting up.
- Keep up to date with the WordPress best practices in order to protect yourself and your clients from cybersecurity issues such as stolen traffic
- Use WordPress themes to give you a good working idea of UX and UI, how they relate to each other, and what clients want when it comes to visuals and usability
- Practice practice practice
3. Build a Portfolio
Your portfolio is your handshake. It’s what gets you in the door of potential clients, and what you use to document your expertise. Taking the time to create a portfolio is essential.
The best way to do this is to:
- Use an online portfolio service such as Behance.
- Keep your portfolio up to date will make sure that only your best work is added, and that it stays current.
- Set aside time every Friday afternoon to work on your portfolio
- Look at adding a filtering system to your own website as it grows
- Also check out this full guide we created on how to create a portfolio
Remember: Your portfolio is your key way of marketing yourself to find new clients. Take our Web design Professional Bootcamp course, and learn all you need to to know about portfolio design, here.
4. Practice UX and UI
UX and UI are two terms that come up very often with regard to web design. Really getting a handle on how they work, and how to implement them is essential to making great websites and happy clients.
UX is how the user of a website experiences it. So take the time to learn about responsiveness, how your website makes the user feel, and how to leverage those feelings.
UI describes the User Interface. How does your website look? Have you correctly analyzed exactly what your client is looking for with regards to design, color palettes, and images?
Practicing UI can be done a number of ways:
- Take the time to get to know the most popular WordPress templates, and why they are popular.
- Read articles and blogs and the current design trends.
- Practice building sites that mimic current popular ones.
- Take courses in both UX and UI. We also run in-depth courses on both UX and UI here.
5. Build a Network
Your next step is to build a network of both potential clients, and people who will help you to get your brand out there. The most successful way to do this is to use good digital marketing practices.
For example, make sure that you check these points:
- Make sure that you are up to date with the various platform’s algorithms and SEO practices
- Create linked profiles on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. This will help you to post your work faster and with less hassle.
- Brush up on your chatbot coding, and implement them in your website and social media.
- Optimise your content to take voice search into consideration.
- Add as much video content as possible to increase engagement.
- Web Courses Bangkok offers courses in digital marketing to help you really brush up on how to build your network correctly.
6. Learn The Nitty Gritty’s
Once you have mastered all of the above steps, it is time to turn your attention to the little thought-of parts of being a Freelancer. It’s not all client meetings and creativity – you also need to know how the “boring” bits work. Make sure that you know how to :
- Manage your finances
- Register your business for tax
- Create proposals
- Brush up on client management.
All of these are skills that are essential for a business owner, but you may not have had to learn if you were in a corporate environment.
7. Gain Experience and Find Clients
Now that you have all the skills, the portfolio and the network, it is time to get out there and begin to gain experience.
Building your brand is all about creating work that makes clients happy. Even if you start small, get a few satisfied customers under your belt and put that work in your portfolio. With time you will see a snowball effect – your client base will begin to grow exponentially with every happy customer that spreads the word. Be sure that you:
- Ensure that your website matches your personal tone. Clients will associate the two.
- Use a template initially just to get your name out there.
- Add examples to your portfolio quickly, and link that to your website.
- Make sure that your ability to actually do the work is more than up to scratch.
- Add as many real good reviews to your website as possible
8. Go For It!
The final step is simply to go for it!
Freelance Web design is not easy to break into, but once you do you will never look back. Determination, the above-mentioned skills, and a bit of grit will get you on your way to becoming a successful business owner. Don’t let setbacks get you down. As with everything that takes work, the road to becoming a Freelance Web Designer is not always a smooth one, but it is well worth it in the end.
Take Control of Your Career and Become a Freelance Web Designer
Being your own boss is a worthy dream, one that is most likely well within your reach. The most important things to remember are to never take shortcuts; this will negatively impact how your business grows. Never rush a job, clients hate rush jobs, and will pull them apart along with your good name and your confidence. And lastly, be sure that you always do a very good job.
The best way to make sure that you are more than up to the task is to study. Web Courses Bangkok has everything that you need to become a successful freelancer and leave the world of working for someone else behind.
What the Experts Answers to – what is the most important step in becoming a freelance web designer?
“Let me be honest about something. I work less hours and I get paid more money. I also choose when I do the work. No one cares what time it is when I do the work, as long as it’s here when it’s needed. This is smart working for me and my clients. They can focus on their own workload instead of checking what I’m up to.”
“Be confident, know your value and push through in order to get to the level where you can have that freelance freedom. ”