How To Start As A Freelance Web Designer

Congratulations on taking the first steps toward leaving your full-time job and becoming a freelance web designer. As you’ll soon see, it’s a great career choice: the demand for web design work is high, the pay is good, and you’re in control of your schedule. The advice below should help point you in the right direction as you build your portfolio and clientele.

 Know Your Stuff

Before you start looking for clients, make sure that you know what you’re doing. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but the more experience you have with the technologies that your clients are using, the better off they’ll be when hiring someone like yourself.

Some of these include HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript/jQuery/AJAX/JSON, SEO principles for website development (such as title tags and meta descriptions), responsive design techniques (like Bootstrap), modern front-end frameworks like AngularJS or EmberJS, and even WordPress development if applicable (although this one might require some additional training on top of your existing skillset).

Establishing A Niche

Even if you’re not formally employed, you can still improve the likelihood of finding work by establishing a niche. What is a niche? It’s your area of expertise. As an example, my friend who is a freelance web designer specializes in building e-commerce sites. Another friend specializes in creating UX designs and prototypes for mobile apps. 

Another friend specializes in designing Web sites for educational content such as online courses and virtual learning programs. These examples are just examples to get you thinking about how to identify your area of expertise so that you can narrow down what kind of clients and projects are most likely to be interested in working with you or hiring you full-time when opportunities arise.

How To Find Your Niche?

If you have lots of past experience designing websites or know the type of design work that suits your skillset best, then defining your potential niche may be simpler than it would be for someone just starting out as a freelancer or new employee on the job market seeking full-time employment with benefits like medical insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off for vacation days or sick days (yay!). 

Think about what got you started as a web designer in the first place was it because people kept telling you that they really liked the website design that you did for yourself? Maybe some family members were always asking if they could pay to have their websites redesigned into something more professional-looking since they knew that they weren’t designers themselves and needed help with getting their websites up to speed visually speaking before launching their businesses online!

Why It Is Important To Find A Niche?

It will help us focus on doing one thing well rather than try doing everything at once which might lead others astray from what type of design service we provide them with our services – this also helps us improve ourselves based on feedback from clients so we can continue improving our products/services for future customers too!”

Defining Your Target Audience

When starting a business, you need to define your target audience. But what is that? It’s the group of people that you are trying to reach. If you don’t know who they are and where they hang out online, then how will you know how to give them what they want? Or even better, how will you figure out their problems and offer a solution?

The only way is by getting inside their heads. Talk with people in person about what types of websites they’d like to see or why something isn’t working for them or if there’s a feature that would make their lives easier when using the web. Do this at least once a week for a month before considering launching your business.

Setting A Budget

In the beginning, you should be saving money like crazy. You’ll want to save for retirement, taxes, equipment and software upgrades, emergencies (health insurance), marketing and promotion (perhaps a website), training (books and classes), and maybe even business insurance.

If it helps, write yourself a monthly check for each of these categories. If you don’t have much extra cash to go around in the beginning, you may have to start with just one category at a time until your bank account builds up enough to add more accounts.

A budget worksheet can help keep your finances on track as well as give you an overview of where your money goes each month.

Making Connections With Other Designers

Now that you’ve got the groundwork laid, it’s time to start making connections with other designers. While some freelance web designers might prefer to do all their work alone, I personally think that building a community is essential to your development as a freelancer. Connecting with other freelance web designers will help you learn more about the industry and stay motivated in your career.

Depending on where you are in the world, there may be meetups or groups for freelance web designers in your area. If not, try reaching out to others online! Aside from this website, there are plenty of platforms where you can meet fellow freelancers who specialize in web design.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could also look for ways to connect with people outside of the industry. For instance, if your target client base is a certain demographic (e.g., young women), look for groups tailored specifically toward that demographic and practice pitching yourself! You never know you might make a good impression on one of these individuals and they’ll recommend you to their friends when they need services like yours down the line.

Picking A Platform To Host Your Work On

Now, you’re ready to pick a platform to host your website. There are tons of options out there from hosted platforms like SquareSpace and Squares (but definitely not Squares) to more do-it-yourself setups like WordPress and Wix, the choice is yours.

The best way to choose a platform that is right for you is to consider how much time you want to spend on updating and maintaining your site. If the answer is “not that much,” pick a hosted platform like SquareSpace or Squares. If the answer is “a lot,” go with an option like WordPress or Wix that allows you more flexibility in terms of design.

Once you’ve picked your template, it’s time to start designing! Open up Photoshop or Illustrator and let’s get started!

Creating A Powerful Portfolio 

Your portfolio is your principal selling point. Make sure it’s easy to navigate, shows all of your best work, and is easy to find on the internet.

To get started, we recommend using a platform specifically designed for portfolios. Behance or Cargo Collective are perfect examples of such platforms. They allow you to focus less on building a website from scratch, and more on curating your work and communicating exactly what you have to offer.

When curating your work, don’t just show off big design projects; include everything that can help clients understand what you’re capable of. This could mean adding some packaging designs you’ve done or even illustrations you’re proud of each project gives potential clients a glimpse into who you are as an artist, so be sure to make it count!

Finding Your Resources For Web Design Training, Inspiration, And More

If you are just starting out as a web designer, you should set up accounts on freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr. You can also continue to work with them even when you become an experienced designer. These sites help put you in touch with clients and give you private feedback about your freelancing business.

It’s important for a freelance designer to stay updated with the latest industry trends. The best way to do this is by reading blogs and articles written by experts in the field of web design. The topics vary from responsive design, and modern coding techniques to new trends in web development, etc. Here are some of the top websites which offer good quality content:

  • Smashing Magazine
  • Web Designer Depot
  • Creative Bloq


  • Build up a portfolio. You’re going to need to show off your design skills before you can get clients. Choose three or four of your best works and put them on display.
  • Find a way to host your content online. This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but it’s crucial that you find a platform to host your work so that people can access it easily.
  • Make your online identity stand out. The internet is a crowded place, so how will people know who you are? It’s important that you find ways to set yourself apart from other designers out there your own brand if you will.
  • Build connections with other designers. Talking about web design every day is more fun when there are other people around who share the same interests as you! Connecting with others in your field gives you opportunities for advice and support, as well as the chance to chat about upcoming trends and joint projects.

Final Thought

As you can see, freelancing as a web designer is no joke. It will take a lot of work and a lot of patience to get your freelance business up and running. However, if you remain persistent and work hard, it will be worth the effort. Don’t expect to make big dollars right off the bat; building up your portfolio and reputation takes time. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to getting there!

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you get started, here are answers to common questions that web designers have when they’re starting out as freelancers:

How Can I Find Clients?

The key to landing your first client is to build your personal brand. Focus on creating a strong social media presence and start blogging on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. This will help you share your knowledge and introduce yourself to potential clients. To really stand out, ensure that all the content you post is professional and error-free by using an online writing assistant like ProWritingAid or Grammarly.

How Can I Get The Word Out About My Services?

You need a great website for both promotional purposes and as a way to showcase your work so potential clients can see what you’re capable of doing. LinkedIn, Medium, Instagram, and Twitter are also effective ways to promote yourself as a freelance web designer but don’t forget about traditional methods like networking events in order to expand your reach beyond the world wide web.

What Tools Do I Need As A Freelance Web Designer?

There’s no one-size-fits-all toolset when it comes to web design it really depends on what kind of projects you’ll be working on but some of the most popular design software include Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, Sketch App, Figma, and Invision Studio.

Additionally, there are lots of helpful tools for remote collaboration (like Google Docs) that enable real-time editing with other team members so everyone can contribute ideas in an organized way. And if all else fails then just remember how important good old-fashioned pen/​paper is too!

What Is The Best Way To Price My Services?

Pricing varies greatly depending on the experience level of expertise (e.g., someone with 10 years’ worth of experience will probably charge more than someone fresh out of school). However, there are some general pricing guidelines

How Can I Build A Powerful Portfolio?

Building a portfolio is the key to getting clients and building a successful freelance career as a web designer. You want your portfolio to be visually appealing, and you should have at least eight projects ready to show off when you’re starting out. Focus on showcasing an array of skills and working with different types of clients.

How Do I Choose A Niche?

A niche is a specific area of expertise, and you will want to choose one before starting your freelance web design career. While this may seem like a constraining choice, it is actually beneficial to both you and your clients. 

The more specialized you are, the better you will be at what you do (and the more value you will be able to provide to your clients), and the easier it will be for potential clients who are looking for someone like you to find you.

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