If you already have the skills to work as a web designer but prefer not to get a traditional job working for a company for whatever reason, you’re certainly not alone. As more companies look to develop stellar websites on a budget, they’re turning to freelance web designers to get the job done. If you’re ready to launch your career as a freelance web designer, here are the basic steps you need to take:
Figure up your costs and goal earnings
Figuring up your expenses is an essential part of any business venture. Luckily, as a freelance web designer, your expenses may not be all that high. You’ll need a decent computer, a place to work, and the software you prefer to use when creating web designs and graphics. Also, consider paid freelancing resources, such as image databases. You can find a list of such resources through Freelance Switch. You’ll also want to consider other expenses such as taxes, which will come out of your earnings, and healthcare if you’re planning to freelance full time.
Besides this, you’ll also want to figure up what you need to make to lead a decent lifestyle as a freelancer. Calculate for things like basic living expenses, work-related expenses, healthcare, retirement savings, and the little extras like travel and your morning cup of gourmet coffee. By figuring up how much you need to make and dividing it by the number of hours you’ll work in a year, you can set your hourly rate. Even if you can’t start out working for quite such a high rate, you at least have a goal to work towards!
As you’re calculating expenses and goal earnings, it’s important to decide where your start-up funds are going to come from. If you already have a job, it’s a good idea to set aside money for a few months so that you have savings to fall back on and money to fund your business essentials when you start.
If you’re out of work and need to get your freelance business going in a hurry, small business credit cards can be a particularly good option in a pinch. Cards that are tailored for micro businesses can give you flexible payment options and decent interest rates so that you can get your business started without loading on too much debt.
Build a website
While other types of freelancers can often get away with having little more than a LinkedIn profile, web designers absolutely must have a business website. Your website will act as your portfolio, intriguing potential customers and showcasing your best work.
Remember, your website will be the key point of building your brand as a web designer, so put plenty of time into crafting a logo, choosing a color scheme, and generally just making your website a functional work of art.
Once you’ve built our website, create social media sites through Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for your business, and update these sites regularly. Each of your social media sites should link into your website so that your connections can find you on the web more easily. You may even want to start a blog centered around your business, so that you’ll have more social media content to share.
Do great work
The key to starting a freelance career is always getting those first few jobs. Once you get a few jobs, you’ll often find that more work continues to pour in. The key is to do your absolute best work for every client, every time. By going above and beyond expectations, meeting deadlines, and communicating with your clients, you’ll make your clients happy. Happy clients will then give you excellent reviews on your website or freelance connection service like Elance, and they may even refer other potential clients to your freelancing business.
Don’t expect to be able to make a full-time living right away, but with hard work and persistence, you can turn your passion for web design into a great career.