How to Get Started in Freelance Web Design [Tips]

Have you ever thought about becoming a freelancer? If so, you’re not alone. Every year, more people are leaving their standard 9-to-5 jobs to pursue the thrill and freedom of working for themselves.

If you’re curious about getting started as a freelancer, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll show you everything you need to know to get started as a freelance web designer.

What Does A Freelance Web Designer Do?

As a freelance web designer, you would be responsible for creating websites for clients – from the initial layout to the final look. Unlike other types of design, web design requires knowledge of coding languages such as HTML and CSS (though many web designers use programs like WordPress instead).

Here is how to get started…

Get The Right Education

When people think about web design, they often focus on the visual elements: fonts and colors, layout, and graphics. But a good designer must also have a solid understanding of how to use the main web design software packages, such as Dreamweaver, Flash, or Photoshop.

And it’s not enough to only understand the software; you must also know how to write code using HTML and CSS. Many designers learn these languages in school; if you didn’t take any computer programming classes in college, consider taking some classes at your local community college or through an online program. With these skills under your belt, you will be ready to start designing websites for yourself and others!

Decide What To Charge

Deciding how much to charge can be tough. You might feel clueless about where to start, or you might be worried that if you charge too much or too little you won’t get any work.  At this stage in your career, it’s reasonable to assume that most of the people who come to you will have a budget of under $10k, and so it’s important that what you charge aligns with the size of their project. Here are some guidelines:

Starter sites (one page with a simple contact form): $300 – $500

Simple brochure style sites (up to 5 pages): $500 – $1,000

Websites for small and medium-sized businesses (5+ pages): $2,000 – $5,000

As your experience grows and as your skills improve, your rates should increase as well. In order to raise rates successfully though, you need to also increase the perceived value of what you offer. This means doing things like providing extra services or fast-tracking projects for clients who are willing to pay more for those benefits.

Decide How To Market Yourself

It’s not enough just to design good websites. In order to be successful, you need to find a niche and understand your clients’ needs. One way to do this is by researching your competition. Take a look at their websites and see what they’re doing well and where there are opportunities for improvement. 

Also, use platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to advertise your services—but do so with caution. These types of platforms can be very competitive for new freelancers. You’ll have more luck if you market yourself on LinkedIn or by speaking with people in person​ (more on that later).

You should also keep up with the latest trends in website design. Look for inspiration from blogs like Smashing Magazine, A List Apart, and CSS Tricks, as well as other web professionals who are doing great work online. Another option is to attend conferences where you can network with other professionals in the field (see below).

Learn About Basic Business Practices

One of the most important things you need to learn before becoming a freelance web designer is basic business practices. This means learning about legal issues, taxes, and communication, but it also means learning about time management, dealing with clients, and other stuff that is specific to your business.

And if you don’t know what to do first and how to start, there are several courses available online (some free) and books you can read which will help you get going in the right direction.

Do Some Freelancing On The Side While You Have A Full-Time Job

If you plan to freelance on the side while holding a full-time job, you should definitely make sure that your contract with your employer does not forbid it. Some companies do not allow their employees to work for other companies at the same time, so check if this is written anywhere in your contract. 

While freelancing on the side can be lucrative, it can also be extremely risky if you don’t protect yourself from a legal standpoint! You may have heard stories where web designers get sued by clients and lose everything they own as a result of poor planning and bad contracts.

Make sure you have good insurance coverage like professional indemnity insurance which will protect you in case someone sues you for making a mistake or delivering something late. It’s also advisable to take out public liability insurance which will protect you in case someone gets injured while visiting your office. Finally, make sure that any third parties like freelancers who work on your website designs are covered by their own insurance policies too!

Prepare To Market Yourself And Begin Building Your Web Design Portfolio

The web design industry is booming, and it seems like everyone wants a piece of the action. Just as you’re getting used to working alone, out of your garage, or down the hall at your parents’ place, there are people all over the world trying to make their mark on the web design world.

If you’re serious about making a name for yourself in this industry, you need to branch out and get some exposure. And when I say exposure, I mean an entire portfolio full of work with your name plastered all over it! You can’t get that exposure without a website or a portfolio.

Stock Imagery Is Probably The Best Way To Start Increasing Traffic To Your Site Quickly

Try using stock photography from sites like iStockPhoto and Pexels. The problem is that these sites aren’t cheap; they’re typically around $50-$80 per image–but they offer a set number of images per month and give you a large collection of high-quality photos that can use right away!

Once you’ve got pictures on your site, think about ways in which they could be improved: do you have images with bad lighting? Is the image too cluttered? Are links missing from background images? Treat them like something precious; if someone takes one look at your site and gets put off by what they see, they might not come back again!

Create Your Online Presence (Website, Social Media Accounts, Etc.)

Create a website. You will want to create a website highlighting your work and samples of your work. The site should convey your personal brand, be easy to navigate and look professional.

Use social media. Your social media accounts should be used to build your brand in the industry you are interested in, provide more information about yourself and what you value as a web designer, and show potential clients that there is more to you than just freelance web design. For example, if freelancing for clients isn’t for you but creating online content is, you might use social media to promote your writing or art skills instead of showcasing websites that you’ve designed for others.

Get A Professional Email Address (Not Gmail Or Hotmail)

Getting an email account with an address like can go a long way in helping people take you seriously as well as boosting your own confidence when communicating with potential clients or even friends who might be able to recommend potential clients to you later on down the line.

Market Yourself On Freelance Platforms Like Upwork

Sign up for accounts on the top freelance platforms like Upwork. You can also browse job boards and local classifieds, but those are often more targeted to intermediate to advanced freelancers since they require you to generally be able to create your own proposals.

Once signed up, you can start searching for jobs that fit your skillset and bid on them. When writing a proposal for a job, read through it carefully and make sure you understand what the client wants before submitting your bid. Writing a proposal should take 2-3 minutes max.

If a client hires you, there will be communication between you and the client about what he/she needs from you (i.e., deliverables), how much time is needed to complete the project, etc., so make sure you’re available when they need work done!

When projects are finished, clients submit payment that is held in escrow until both parties agree that everything was completed satisfactorily. The money will then be released to either party’s account depending on various factors like time is taken or quality of work, which vary by platform. 

Start Networking In-Person And Keep Up With The Latest Trends In Web Design

Reaching out to other people, no matter how big or small is one of the best ways to learn and grow in your career. Whether you’re an aspiring web designer, a budding writer, or just a curious person who would like to spend more time networking with people in your field of interest, this is one of those times when it pays to be proactive.

Constantly Work On Improving Your Skills

If you want to be successful in the world of freelance web design, it is important that you constantly work on improving your skills. One of the best ways to improve your abilities is to build up a backlog of projects that you can showcase in your portfolio. By focusing on improving your skills, you will become a better web designer which will allow you to do a better job for your clients.

You Can Be A Successful Freelance Web Designer

There are a lot of benefits to a freelance career: you get to set your own hours, work from home (or the beach), and make as much or little money as you want. The downside is that its hard work. There are a lot of options out there, but the first step is deciding what you want your business to be based on your skills and strengths.

It’s possible for anyone to be successful in freelance web design, but it does take time, effort, and dedication. It will also require learning new skills. But if you’re ready for the challenge, becoming a freelance web designer is an exciting and rewarding career path!

Wrapping Up 

There are a number of reasons why web design is a great profession to enter as a freelancer, and there are plenty of ways to carve out your own path once you’ve decided to go down this career path. The freelance web design industry is still growing, and there are plenty of opportunities for aspiring designers who want to help shape the future of this part of the field.

People Also Ask

What’s The Best Way To Get Started In Freelance Web Design?

The first step is to make something you’re proud of. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal website or a made-up business—the goal is to use what you learn to create something that looks and functions well. Then, when you want to show employers your work, you can include projects that you’ve done yourself as examples of your skills.

What If I Don’t Know How To Code?

Coding isn’t necessary for creating a good-looking website—even if you know the basics of HTML and CSS, there are tools like WordPress that can help you build a website without writing any code at all. If coding is something you want to learn more about, there are many places online where you can learn for free, including Code Academy and Khan Academy.

What Are The Benefits Of Freelance Web Design?

You have the freedom to pick and choose your projects, which means you’ll have the opportunity to work with companies you believe in. The experience you gain as a freelancer is invaluable, and it will help you grow your network, which leads to more opportunities. Plus, you can work from anywhere!

How Do I Find Clients?

The best way to get started as a freelancer is to use all of your connections to build a robust portfolio so that clients come directly to you. Even if you don’t have any web design experience yet, you can still take on smaller projects for people or organizations you know so that you can build up your portfolio and show off your skills.

What Should I Charge?

It’s tempting to jump at every project that comes your way, but this is an easy way to burn out quickly. Instead, make sure that the project at hand is something that sparks joy for you—and then make sure it also helps pay your bills!

How Do I Price My Services?

It’s a good idea to create a spreadsheet with the different types of work you might be doing, how long each task will take, and how much each task is worth. If you need help creating something like this, check out our guide on pricing web design services.

Can I Freelance Without Experience?

Absolutely! Many freelancers start off in their industry by doing work independently, and some people even start their career by going straight into freelancing without any prior experience as an employee of an agency or other workplace. You’ll have to find your own clients, but don’t worry—we’ve got some ideas for how to do that later on in the series.

Do I Need A Degree In Web Design?

You don’t need a degree in web design to be a good one. However, you will need to learn the basics of coding, so you might want to look into some coding classes or boot camps.

Can I Take On More Than One Freelance Gig At Once?

Yes! Many freelancers take on more than one project at once, but be sure you’re not taking on too much work—you don’t want to burn out or drop the ball on any of your assignments!

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