Finding Work As A Freelance Web Designer [15 Helpful Tips]

Are you a web designer or developer looking for some extra time to take on more projects? 

There are a lot of ways you can go about finding clients and earning more money, but it is important that you are going about finding new work in the right way. 

Freelance web design is a fantastic way to make an income for people with the right skills. If you’re already in the field, then you’ll be able to appreciate the challenges that freelancers like me face from time to time.

If you’ve been thinking about taking the leap into freelance but are afraid of the challenges you’ll face then read on for 15 hints for finding work as a freelance web designer.

FINDING FREELANCE WORK: #1 Method For Web Developers
1. Build a strong portfolio to showcase your skills.
2. Utilize online platforms like LinkedIn to network and connect with potential clients.
3. Research and define your target audience to tailor your services.
4. Set clear pricing strategies based on your skills and project complexity.
5. Leverage social media to showcase your work and attract clients.
6. Attend industry events to expand your professional network.
7. Develop strong communication skills to effectively interact with clients.
8. Stay updated on the latest web design trends and technologies.
9. Offer a diverse range of services to cater to different client needs.
10. Consider building a personal website to showcase your expertise.

1. Find A Niche

Define your niche and do the work necessary to become THE person in that field. Stay focused and commit yourself to becoming the best you can be at a particular skill set. Use every opportunity to learn from others (jumping on Skype calls with other designers, attending webinars/conferences, etc.). 

Take note of what works for other people in your niche, and then use their experience as an inspiration for growing your own business (get tips from those who have been there before you). Be patient; You’re not going to become wildly successful overnight, but if you follow these steps there’s a very good chance that one day soon you might find yourself sitting at a restaurant celebrating a client just like I did last month!

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2. Be On Multiple Sites, But Not Necessarily All Of Them

Finding work on sites like Upwork or Freelancer can be a frustrating experience. The competition is fierce, the clients are often unrealistic and many freelancers have had bad experiences on these sites. To avoid this, I would recommend that you don’t rely on any single site to find work.

However, it’s also important not to spread yourself too thin in the beginning. I wouldn’t recommend using more than three sites when you start out (Freelancer, Upwork and Elance are good places to start).

If you sign up for every available site then there is a very real danger of burnout as you try to keep track of all the potential jobs that may come your way. Even if one site isn’t producing results right now, it doesn’t mean that another won’t be useful in the future so try not to close off any options at once.

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3. Bid, Don’t Pitch

We know that when you’re just starting out, it can be hard to know what you’re really good at. We’d like to take a moment and help you figure out what your strengths are. Before we start, we should probably get one thing straight: in this article, we are not talking about hiring you over the phone. What I mean by “we” here is me and my friend Constantine, who is also working on this article with me.

If there’s one thing that can’t be underestimated in freelance web design work, it’s word-of-mouth referrals (it’s true!). It might seem like a simple concept—just ask people who have used your services if they know anyone else they could recommend—but sometimes people just don’t think of themselves as easy salespeople.

The first step toward getting more clients is knowing where the best places to advertise are. There are two main ways to do this: by using the Internet or by putting an ad in the newspaper or a magazine. 

The Internet seems like a good idea at first because it makes it easier for potential customers to find you, but in reality, there aren’t as many prospects here compared with other forms of advertising such as newspapers and magazines. 

On top of that, for my skills, it simply isn’t worth paying for ads online until you reach a certain level of size and success (for example, when you’re getting enough new clients every month that they cover your advertising costs).

4. Follow Up With Every Client After The Job Ends

Even if it’s just an email that says, “I hope everything is going well with your site. If you ever need any more work done, please let me know!” You never know where those relationships may lead.

I have many clients I still do work for even though their original job was completed a month ago. Some of these are even jobs I had originally turned down because I didn’t think they were big enough at the time. But since we communicated regularly and kept in touch, they came back to me when they did run into bigger projects in the future.

5. Ask Clients To Add You To Their Networks

Do this on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Make sure your profile is filled out as completely as possible, including a photo and links to your online portfolio. Customize your profile to highlight your skills and experience, so that people searching for a freelancer will see what you have to offer at a glance. Feel free to add your city and state so clients can see if you’re local or not.

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6. Set Up Your Profile With Keywords

Keywords are the words people use to search for your work or skills. You need to use keywords in your profile so that prospective employers can find you.

Here’s an example: “I’m a freelance web designer with 10 years of experience in designing and building WordPress plugins, themes, and websites. I have expertise in PHP, JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 programming languages.

Excellent design skills are backed by excellent coding skills—but how do you demonstrate those coding skills? By including some links to examples of your code on GitHub. Also, include links to any tutorials you’ve created or open-source projects you’ve contributed to so that potential employers will see what kind of student or colleague you would be.

7. Create Your Own Portfolio Site

You can’t be a freelance web designer without having a portfolio website. You can’t even “be” one technically, because it involves designing and building websites for people, who will pay you money in exchange for your work. You can’t do that if you don’t have a website to show them.

Fortunately, there are services like WordPress and Squarespace that allow you to build your own site quickly and easily. Even the most technical layperson is capable of putting together an attractive portfolio site using these tools in just a few hours.

This is all you need to start advertising yourself as a freelance web designer, even though you have no actual experience designing or building websites, no idea how much time it will take, or what skills are needed to do so for another person in order to get paid for it.

8. Build Up Your Portfolio With Free Work And Projects In The Community

If you’re still new to web design or development, it can be difficult to find clients that want to pay you for your services. You can overcome this hurdle by offering your work for free.

I’m not saying that you should accept free work forever. But doing free work is a great way to build up your portfolio with professional projects and receive feedback from real clients. Plus, it helps you build credibility if that person later writes a testimonial about working with you on their project or website.

You could also offer to help non-profits or charity organizations with their websites. This gives back to the community and will look great on your resume as well.

Lastly, don’t forget about building sites for yourself! Build some personal websites as practice and ask your friends/family what they think of them. Even creating a simple blog site would be better than nothing!

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9. Get Testimonials When Possible

Getting testimonials is important for securing future work, but it can be difficult to get them. One of the most effective ways you can do this is by requesting a testimonial during a particularly positive moment on every project. When your client says something like, “That’s so much better than I asked for!” or “You really did an amazing job, thank you!” that’s when you should ask if they could write you a quick testimonial.

Testimonials are more effective than reviews because they don’t end up getting lost among all of the other reviews. Plus, your clients will be more likely to say nice things about their experience with you since they know their testimonials will be prominently displayed on your site and LinkedIn profile.

Using the quote from that positive moment in each project as the beginning of a longer testimonial will make it feel authentic and organic to prospective clients who come across it later on your website or in other marketing materials (like emails). For example:

“Joe Smith has been working with us at ABC Company for nearly eight years now and he’s always done an excellent job…etc.”

10. Don’t Forget Other Platforms Like Github, Linkedin, And Twitter

Don’t forget other platforms like GitHub, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These can serve as really useful channels for finding more jobs in the tech industry. GitHub is a great way to prove your ability in terms of coding, especially if you want to get hired by organizations that are closely connected with programming (such as banks).

LinkedIn can help you find new clients and expand your network, or simply keep track of other people who work in the web design field. Lastly, Twitter is a good way for you to engage with the community! Use it to share updates about your own brand or personal projects.

11. Always Deliver More Than Expected

If you have been approached by a client or company with an offer to work on a project, the best way to seal the deal is to show your enthusiasm. Get a good start on the project and deliver regular updates. Ask for feedback and be willing to make changes. Even if nothing is required of you at that time, staying in touch will help them trust you and feel more comfortable with your work ethic.

Once the contract is signed, deliver on time or even earlier than expected. If this is not possible, let them know well in advance of any delays that may occur so they can adjust their own deadlines accordingly (it’s better they hear it from you).

12. Over-Deliver On Communication

There are lots of ways you can use Slack to communicate. The most obvious is that your team can participate in a chat room and share links, files and thoughts.

Slack also has public and private groups for different projects or departments. In many ways, it’s like a mini social media platform for your agency.

In my experience, the best way to use Slack is to set up an account with your client and give them access to the channel where work on their project is being discussed. You could even create a private group specifically for your clients so they can interact with each other (as well as you).

If you do this, make sure that you agree on communication guidelines upfront so you avoid frustrating clients by responding too quickly (or not quickly enough).

13. Treat Clients Like Clients, Not Friends Or Family

As a professional, the client is paying you to deliver a service. Don’t let the relationship get personal. Clients aren’t your friends and they’re not your family members. You shouldn’t try to make jokes with them or share intimate details from your life with them. Your relationship should be all business. If you need to, set some boundaries for yourself and stick to them.

If something comes up in your life that might impact the project, let the client know, but don’t overshare and don’t make excuses for why something isn’t going right.

Don’t be too familiar with clients by calling them by their first names immediately, or referring to yourself as being “like one of the family!” Be polite and professional when communicating with clients, but don’t be overly friendly either: at the end of the day, you’re there to work together on a project that is mutually beneficial for both of you.

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14. Give Clients Milestones As “Deliverables”

From a client’s perspective, one of the best things about hiring an independent contractor over an agency is that you’re paying for only what you need. You’re not paying for their rental space, their administrative staff, or the latest bout of office renovations. Also, your project is more likely to be handled by a single person who will work on it from start to finish. 

That all sounds great—but as a freelancer working on one big project at a time, how do you make sure your clients are happy with each step of the process?

15. Terms And Conditions, Deadlines, And Payment Schedule

This is a good time to mention that you should always have some kind of contract in place with your clients, even if it’s only a simple document that covers the basics. There are several reasons for this:

  • Setting clear expectations from day one will help stave off misunderstandings further down the line. Make sure everyone is on the same page about terms and conditions, deadlines, and payment schedule.
  • Having all agreements written down will make it easier for you to keep track of everything, especially when working on multiple projects at once. It’s hard enough keeping client details straight without having to decipher them from incoherent emails!
  • A paper trail is important if anything goes wrong with a project or client relationship—you want to be able to prove what was agreed upon at any given point. If all else fails, it’s better not to burn any bridges by allowing something petty to get out of hand because there is nothing in writing saying otherwise.
  • You also need to know what your legal obligations are when working with clients; free contracts can be found online or in books like this one (see resources), but they might not apply in all countries and states—so don’t forget to check your local laws as well!

Final Thought

Unfortunately, no one can teach you how to find clients. While some factors remain beyond our control, the majority of it boils down to one thing: hustling. No matter what career you’re in (perhaps even more so if you’re freelancing) networking is incredibly important for finding work—and by networking I mean meeting people in person, communicating with them thoroughly, making sure your work is quality, and being reliable. 

Demonstrate that you’re a hard worker who cares about your projects, and creates effective communication; there’s a very good chance you’ll find a client that fits well with your personality and approach.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further explore the topic of becoming a successful freelance web designer:

How to Become a Freelance Web Designer on LinkedIn: Gain insights from a professional’s perspective on stepping into the world of freelance web design.

15 Tips to Become a Successful Freelance Web Designer: Discover practical tips and advice to excel in your freelance web design journey.

How to Become a Freelance Web Designer on Indeed: Get expert guidance on the steps to take in order to establish yourself as a freelance web designer.

Most Asked Questions

What Is A Freelance Web Designer?

A freelance web designer is a designer who doesn’t work for a company but instead contracts out their services to companies as needed. They may also design and sell templates or themes.

Do I Become A Freelance Web Designer?

Usually, you become a freelance web designer by getting an education in design or simply working on your own time to develop the skills necessary to be a good designer. Then you start contacting companies, agencies, and individuals to get work.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Freelance Web Designer?

The cost of becoming a freelance web designer varies widely depending on whether you go to school for design and how much training you get before starting out on your own. In general, though, if you don’t have any formal education in the field, it shouldn’t cost you more than the price of some online classes or books about the subject.

Where Do I Find Clients As A Freelance Web Designer?

You can find clients by networking with other designers and agencies, through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and through job-related sites like Upwork and Freelancer. You can also find clients through your own website or blog if it has high

Where do I find work as a freelance web designer?

Start by looking for jobs on freelance writing websites. If you don’t want to pay for a membership, look for writing groups on Facebook.

Do I need a website to be hired as a freelance web designer?

If you want to set yourself apart from other writers, it’s a good idea to have a website. Make sure you include an “About Me” section and links to your social media profiles.

How do I make my portfolio stand out?

Include samples of your work that are related to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a job with an accounting firm, include samples of your financial writing.

What should I include in my cover letter?

It’s important to highlight relevant experience and skills in your cover letter. Don’t just talk about your experience; explain why you would be a good fit for the position. You can also include information about any awards or accolades you’ve received in the past.

How do I find clients?

One of the most common questions that new web designers have is: “how do I find clients?” Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question—it is a combination of many small actions.

What Will The Do Client Expect From Me?

Your client will expect you to bring several things to the table: your experience, your skills, and your personality. Each of these things can help you make or break a relationship with a client. How you do it is up to you, but here are some tips to get you started:

How Much Should I Charge For My Services?

The amount you charge for your services will depend on several factors, including your experience level, the type of work that you do, and how much time you can devote to your business.

Can I Use A Template Instead Of Designing Everything Myself?

Yes! You can use a template instead of designing everything yourself, but there are some trade-offs that may not be worth it in some cases. Templates are great because they save time and money, which means you’ll have more time for other things like marketing or working on other projects (like building websites!).

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