How to Quickly Start Freelancing in Web Design

If you are considering freelancing in web design, you’ve come to the right place. 

You’ve tried to find help with freelance websites, but they have too many qualified freelancers already. You can’t get an offer unless you have years of experience. Not to mention the amount of work or even the pay rate needed to make this worth your while. 

This is why I wrote this article: How to Quickly Start Freelancing in Web Design.

How To Get Started As A Freelance Web Developer – YouTube
Key Takeaways
Freelance web design is a viable career option with flexible hours and potential for high earnings.
Building a strong portfolio, developing a niche, and networking are important for success as a freelance web designer.
Setting rates and managing finances can be challenging, but utilizing resources such as contract templates and accounting software can help.
Marketing and self-promotion are crucial for finding clients and building a successful freelance web design business.
Continuously improving skills and staying up to date with industry trends is essential for maintaining a competitive edge.

1. Set Your Target Clients

First, you need to set your target clients. There are literally thousands of clients out there who could benefit from your services, but you won’t be able to work with all of them. You need to find some way to narrow down the pool and focus your efforts on something manageable.

The best way is to start with yourself and what you have right now (so, you know… nothing.) At this point in time, who do you have access to? I’m not talking about friends and family who will give you money just because they like you; I’m talking about potential business relationships that are mutually beneficial.  Think through these potential clients:

  • Clients that need web design services
  • Clients that can afford your services
  • Clients that will be easy to work with
  • Clients that you know
  • Clients that are referred to you
  • Clients that are on-going
  • Get a website going.

To become a successful web design freelancer, it’s crucial to continuously improve your skills and keep up with the latest trends. Our article on 22 expert tips to improve your web design freelancing career can help you stay ahead of the game and stand out in a competitive market.

2. You Will Need To Have A Website Of Some Sort

What kind of website? You’ll want it to be simple and clean, easy to navigate, and contain your portfolio, contact info, and testimonials if you can get any. If you can’t yet get testimonials, don’t sweat it. It may help if you mention that you’re just starting out; there’s nothing wrong with this and potential clients may be more understanding.

What should the site contain? You’ll want to make sure the site is focused on your design work rather than all the other jobs or interests you have, even though these are great things to talk about when selling yourself in a client meeting or initial contact. 

Your goal here is to show your strengths as quickly as possible so that they immediately see what they are getting when they hire you. I recommend having a separate blog/portfolio site rather than including everything on one personal site; not only does this offer more flexibility for different designs, but it also gives them somewhere else to go if they like what they see – something that may encourage them to buy from you again in the future once you’ve built up a good reputation!

3. Be Active On Social Media

Let’s be honest: finding a steady, long-term job as a web designer or developer is hard. It takes time and effort, both of which aren’t exactly in abundance these days. We’ve assembled this list to help you cut through the noise and get hired quickly.

Here’s our first piece of advice: always share your work with anyone who will listen. Start by sharing your portfolio on sites such as Behance and Dribble, then start posting examples of your work on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and  Linkedin. By being active on social media, you’re not only getting people to see what you’re capable of but also showing that you care about your craft enough to talk about it online.

Starting a freelance web design business can be overwhelming, but following some basic rules can help you establish a solid foundation. Learn more about the essentials of freelance web design in our article on 19 rules for starting freelance web design.

4. Cast A Wide Net For Leads

The best way to get work as a freelancer is to show your work. If people can see that you have the skills, they will hire you. You have a few options for doing this:

Use an agency. Agencies are already established and do all the marketing for you in exchange for a cut of your earnings. They also screen potential clients and make sure only the best end up on your plate, which is great when you’re starting out because it decreases the chances of running into any bad apples—which unfortunately exist in every industry. 

However, be aware that some agencies take 50-60% or more of what you earn, so use them wisely!

Cold email or cold call potential clients. This can be uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier with practice; plus, if it’s getting you paid work then it’ll feel much better than sending out job applications and not hearing back. The key is to let your portfolio do most of the talking: think of yourself as someone who provides solutions, not someone looking for help.

Find referrals within your network and ask them to recommend you to someone they know who needs web design services. This can be harder than it sounds because many people don’t know anyone who needs web design help—but doesn’t give up! Sometimes just asking is enough to remind others that something like this exists and maybe even push them toward giving freelance web design their own shot someday too (if they’re interested).

Attend events where potential clients might gather together such as conferences or meetups related specifically to marketing professionals (go to these events armed with business cards!). 

Networking at these types of events gives you access to people who need content created but wouldn’t necessarily think about hiring outside contractors unless they were introduced directly through someone else first – which makes finding leads much easier than other forms of outreach since there’s already an established relationship between those involved before any type of solicitation occurs.”

5. Build A Referral Network Of Like-Minded Professionals

Consider building a referral network of like-minded professionals who can recommend you. You can even offer to pay a fee to people who refer you to new clients if it would be mutually beneficial for both of you.

This is the time in your career when relationships matter most. If someone recommends you and you do a good job, they’ll refer you again, and so on. This business model has worked well for me, and I’ve ended up working with some amazing clients thanks to referrals alone.

You can also get your existing clients to refer people to you. Reach out when the project is complete and ask them if they know anyone else who might need web design services (and don’t be afraid to remind them if they forget!).

As a web design freelancer, it’s important to know how to manage your time and get the most out of your work. Our article on how to get the most out of your freelance web design work provides valuable tips on how to increase productivity and efficiency.

6. Use Local Advertising And PR To Get Your Name Out There

You can use local advertising and PR channels to get your name out there. For example, you can place ads in local newspapers, magazines, or flyers in businesses. Additionally, you can use radio, television, and even billboards to get the word out about your web design business.

For example, a couple of years ago I was traveling with my family and we were on the first leg of our trip at a very small airport (it had one gate). While we waited for our flight to arrive I saw an ad for the local web design company on the back of a placard for the taxi service located at that airport. 

When I asked about it, apparently because that airport was so small they have an arrangement with the taxi service and it’s very affordable—they just give them a new placard each month with their latest promotion printed on it. It’s genius!

Nail your sales process — follow up with prospects, manage meetings and onboarding, and lead client conversations.

7. Get Your Business In Order — Set Up Tax Records, Get Certified

In order to start freelancing in web design, you will need to set up your business. This includes getting certified if necessary, filing all the paperwork with the state and federal government, and learning how to manage your taxes. If you don’t already have a business name in mind, now is a good time to decide on one.

Once you have the legal side of things squared away, create a website for yourself that showcases your work. It doesn’t have to be fancy at first—just something that clients can view when they look for you online. 

Also consider starting an account on LinkedIn or another professional site where people can find you and connect with you online, as well as establish your reputation thereby participating in discussions or sharing relevant articles.

Determining your worth as a freelance web designer can be challenging, but understanding the different factors that affect your salary can help you negotiate better rates. Check out our ultimate guide to freelance web designer salaries and FAQs to learn more about how to determine your value and maximize your earning potential.

8. Set Your Rates Based On The Value You Provide, Not How Long You Work

The step-by-step process of setting a rate is:

Know the market rate. Do some research and find out what other freelancers are charging in your area so you don’t end up underselling yourself or making obnoxious claims about your rates. If you’re going to be moving to an area in which you have no idea of the market rate, it’s important to ask someone who knows better.

Research your clients and determine the value they will get from hiring you. Depending on how much time you spend on this step, it may take a little bit of time, but determining their needs and wants is imperative when you decide to make your offer. This can help prevent uncomfortable conversations about money later on if expectations are set upfront before any work takes place.

Evaluate your skillset realistically so that there are no misconceptions about what services will be provided by whom during the project (you or external parties). Remember that even though being honest might not always seem like it’ll get the client to hire you faster because they’ll know exactly what’s going through their mind when deciding whether or not they want

9. Find An Effective Way To Bill Your Clients — Invoices, Payment Plans

When you send out an invoice, don’t wait until the last minute. Get in the habit of sending it out once your project is finished, and be specific about what the client is paying for (ex: “website design is $6,000 and copywriting is $1,500). Clients are more likely to pay if they know they’re supporting something tangible.

Client late fees may seem unprofessional or rude, but they’re a necessity in this business. Even if your clients are respectful and always on time with their payments, you have no way of knowing what freelance work will do to their finances. 

If a client knows they’re going to be late with a payment or two, they’ll take you more seriously if there are penalties involved—or so I hear. I have never had a late payment in my entire freelance career. The important thing is that you can charge them if one does happen to slip through the cracks!

To avoid awkward conversations with your clients about late fees and also make things more convenient for yourself use online invoicing software like QuickBooks Online, Harvest, Freshbooks, WaveApps. 

These services all integrate seamlessly with Stripe and PayPal. After setting up an account with them (which only takes 15 minutes), you can simply click a button to send invoices to your clients! No need for paper copies or awkward phone calls!

Hiring a freelance web designer can bring many benefits to your business, from saving time and money to accessing specialized skills and expertise. Our article on why hiring a freelance web designer may help you lists 15 compelling reasons why you should consider working with a freelancer for your next web design project.

Final Thought

All in all, if you have a skill that other people need, then you can probably find somebody who wants to hire you to do it. If you want to freelance and think this might be the kind of article you’d be interested in reading, then we bet it would be helpful for you! Got an idea for a blog on freelancing? Post it in the comments. We might reconsider and add it to our list!

Further reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Developer: This article offers insights into the benefits of becoming a freelance web developer and how to get started in the industry.

How to Become a Freelance Web Developer: A Comprehensive Guide: This guide covers everything from building a portfolio and finding clients to pricing your services and managing your workload as a freelance web developer.

How to Start Freelancing as a Web Developer: This article provides practical advice on how to start freelancing as a web developer, including tips on networking, building a brand, and setting your rates.

People Also Ask

How Do You Decide What To Charge?

This can be really tricky! A lot of people have trouble with charging too little or too much for their services. Over-pricing yourself can mean losing clients before you even get started, so it’s important to know your worth and stick with it. 

On the other hand, under-pricing yourself can lead to low pay and long hours spent with clients who aren’t willing to pay more, and that my friend is no fun at all!

How Do I Set Pricing For Freelance Work?

There are two ways to set pricing: either by using value-based pricing or cost-based pricing. If you’re using value-based pricing, make sure you know how much value each project will bring to your clients. This means not only improving the look of their website but also increasing sales or leads.

What Skills Do I Need To Have?

Some common skills are HTML, CSS, Javascript, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

What Should I Look For When Hiring A Client?

Good communication and clear deadlines are important. Also consider things like how much work they give you, and whether the work pays well.

How Do I Find Clients?

Post on forums and social media sites, talk to people at meetups, reach out to people who have hired freelancers before, or post your services on Craigslist.

How Do I Turn My Designs Into A Website?

You can use HTML and CSS to make your designs come alive on the Internet.

What Is HTML And Why Do I Need It?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is used for writing web pages. It lets you choose the format of text, images, and other elements on a page. This is how you tell a browser what to display when someone visits your website. An example of an HTML element is <h1> – that tells a browser that it should display the text inside in large, bold letters.

Can I Make Money Just Designing Websites?

Yes! If you have experience and want to work with clients directly, check out freelance websites like Upwork or Fiverr.

 Sites like these connect freelancers with people who need their services. You can also apply to design agencies that will hire you as an employee. Just make sure you have good skills before trying this method!

I’m Interested In Freelancing, But I Don’t Know Where To Start

There are lots of great resources out there to help you. The first thing we’d recommend is looking at a few job sites, visit here. You can search job postings by skills or location and get an idea of what’s available. 

If you’re just looking around and your interests are broad, you can also check out some freelance networks, like the freelance network that lets you filter by type of work or skill level.

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