Freelancing has become a new way of earning money by monetizing your skills. People usually start it as a side hustle and later convert it into a full-time career. Furthermore, the pandemic has completely changed the work-culture dynamics. In a report published by Upwork, they mentioned an increase of 2 Million freelancers since 2019.
Being a freelance web designer is not easy. When you are just starting, it is not feasible for most freelancers to be able to appoint members to handle different tasks. You have to manage every sector of your business yourself.
The entire process might feel exciting at the start but can overwhelm you with time. In the following article, we will talk about some hacks that every freelancer can adopt to make this journey smoother.
- 1 Make Up Your Mind
- 2 Market Yourself
- 3 Provide Value
- 4 Narrow Down Your Niche
- 5 Set Up A Working Environment
- 6 Create Your Portfolio Website
- 7 Fix Your Charges
- 8 Get Yourself A Mentor
- 9 Identify Your Clients
- 10 Upskill Yourself
- 11 Enhance Your Productivity
- 12 Nurture A Healthy Client Relationship
- 13 Boost Your Network
- 14 Set Your Financial Goals
- 15 Maintain A Work/Life Balance
- 16 Conclusion
Make Up Your Mind
Before working as a freelancer, you must define an estimated ratio between your cost and earnings. The freelancing business is quite lucrative and, on average, a freelance web designer can earn over $75,000. However, at the start, you might earn even less than the standard corporate rate. It is hence necessary that you pre-determine your fixed cost and; work accordingly.
For a web designer, your initial costing would include your website domain name, important software, or any other investment made to improve your skills. You must be mentally and financially ready to manage a few months without any higher earnings.
At the beginning of your freelance journey, you must tell people about the services you offer and what problem can it solve for their business. Marketing yourself can be simplified into creating your brand. You can do it by connecting with other freelance web designers or telling your success stories to prospective clients.
The other would be, to join all social media platforms and talk about your specialty. These applications are usually filled with people who are looking for serious freelancers to work with them on big projects. Your job will be to confidently speak about yourself and the specialization that you hold.
This is an extension to the previous point; where we talked about being visible on social platforms. Does this mean that you only talk about your brand and nothing else? Choosing this strategy might fetch you some clients for the short term. However, people don’t want to listen to your marketing pitch every time they read your post.
Thus, you must provide value to your connections. Being a web designer, you must know the common mistakes or questions that other young designers might have in their early days. Create an Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook account and start posting content that establishes you as an expert.
Narrow Down Your Niche
We couldn’t emphasize much on how important it is for you to get your niche right. Just calling yourself a web designer would instantly increase your competition as compared to being designated as UX designer for gaming websites. You can either be a generalist or a professionalist but not both.
However, in the beginning, you should try to catch up on all kinds of projects to analyze your strong and weak points. As you start working with multiple clients, you will eventually find your interest area and the specific niche that interest your personality.
Set Up A Working Environment
Freelancing is very different from a normal job. You are your own boss but it’s important to define your working structure. Firstly, set up a workspace that has a proper sitting arrangement. Avoid working in a place that is super comfy to make you sleep.
As a freelancer, you will be working on multiple projects simultaneously. Setting up your workspace will boost your productivity and not make you lethargic. Maintain a daily to-do-list where you can mention your daily targets. And, at the end of the day, you can tick out the activities you were able to complete. This will eventually become a part of your routine and be very helpful in the long run.
Create Your Portfolio Website
It is one of the basic requirements that a freelance web designer should possess. Don’t wait for the client’s money to pour in before making such an inexpensive investment. Your portfolio website should be able to establish you as an expert in this field.
So, whenever you send your portfolio website to a client, make sure to include all the services you can provide and choose you specifically for their project. To achieve these goals remember about using website personalization as it allows you to provide your potential clients with unique experiences tailored to their needs and gives them reasons to explore your website a bit longer.
Fix Your Charges
Before quoting any price to a client, you must do full market research. This will ensure that you are not over or undercharging as per the market standards. Being a freelance web designer, you can either charge hourly or project-wise. Both of these methods have their respective pros and cons.
Working on an hourly basis might put a lot of pressure on you and leave you undercharged. Whereas, if you work on a project basis, there is a high chance that your client overwhelms you with work. You must find a balance between which type of project can come under what category.
Get Yourself A Mentor
This is one of the most important investments that you can make in your initial days of freelancing. A mentor can be a person who is performing well in your industry and you are able to relate to their thought process. By doing the following, you will avoid all the rookie mistakes that every beginner makes while freelancing.
However, make sure you choose a mentor according to your business goals. For instance, you might be wanting to make $5k per month in your initial days of freelancing, then, you will need to follow the mentor that has already achieved this goal.
Identify Your Clients
Now that you have created a portfolio website and ready to launch your services, it is of utmost importance that you find your right clients. You should make sure you are having good conversion rates like you should not be missing potential clients landing on your website or LinkedIn contact interested in your outreach message.
To achieve a better conversion rate from your website, consider adding a well-designed CTA’s button aka direct call widget that enables your clients to call you directly with a single click.However, for LinkedIn, your quick response to posts stating that “freelance web designers are required” can help you a lot.
If you are a fresher, you can boost your portfolio by selling freebies to your first few clients. The number shouldn’t go beyond three. These websites are a white canvas and you have to give your best to be able to attract further clients.
In the first few months of freelancing, you will understand not every person who looks like a potential client is a good prospect. You have chosen freelancing because of its freedom to select and reject clients that don’t match your requirement.
Bluntly speaking, freelancing can be more difficult than a corporate job. In this business, you are not tied up to any organization nor they will act as your employer. Thus, the competition is quite high. There will be many people who are more experienced than you and offer much more services in their package. To beat your competition, you will need to continuously grab knowledge in multiple areas of your niche.
The internet is filled with useful information but first things first, you need to identify your skills gap in order to navigate in what direction to move forward. There are many platforms out there offering interactive technical skills assessments to frontend engineers that can help in your skills gap screening and upskilling.
Enhance Your Productivity
Being a freelancer, you must make the most out of the day. Structuring your daily routine will help you jot down tasks that can be completed in your work hours. But, make sure to not burden yourself with too many things and feel extremely pressured. Limit your online usage on unproductive things and transfer it into surfing knowledgeable portals.
Being productive doesn’t mean hustling all day. You need to take small breaks also to breathe out the tension and relax for a bit. Optimize your mobile phone by installing applications related to your forte.
Nurture A Healthy Client Relationship
Nothing is fixed in a freelancing business; you need to nurture all your past clients and try to maintain a healthy relationship. Your clients help you understand different business situations and give you a lot of experience. As you grow, you must make good contacts with clients no matter how small or big their businesses are.
Most clients who have liked your services, refer your name to other prospects. This fetches you more clients and empowers you to charge some extra bucks. Providing value-added services and meeting up with your deadlines will always result in building a strong bond with your clients.
Boost Your Network
Interacting with people in your forte will surely fetch you some initial clients. As a freelancer you need to be present everywhere your prospective clients can be. You might attend seminars or workshops where people associated with web designing will be present. The hidden motive of these places is to connect with like-minded people and leave a strong influence on your potential clients.
You can also join LinkedIn, where you can connect with your fellow designers, agencies, high-end clients, basically everyone on a single platform. And; like mentioned in the previous points is to start delivering value-integrated content and establish yourself as an expert.
Set Your Financial Goals
Even in the initial days, you need a parameter that determines your achievements. You must set up your monthly and yearly goals and further analyze your learning and experiences. You do not have to make luxurious financial goals. However, your minimum earning goals should cover your basic cost and other miscellaneous expenses.
And with time, you can increase it as per your dedication level. In the corporates, you already get a predefined salary structure and this does not work in the freelancing business. Here, you are both your employer and employee.
Maintain A Work/Life Balance
Among all these hectic tasks, you must spare some valuable time for your family and friends. Every individual needs moral support to function well and build that stable mindset. Furthermore, you opted to freelance majorly to be able to enjoy yourself with your people and work according to your terms.
You must determine your working hours and let your clients know about it. They are also like-minded people and understand your working structure. Set up a professional boundary, this will avoid any excessive pressure. This is one of the biggest rookie mistakes that new freelancers make while starting their freelancing journey which eventually burns them out.
Hopefully, this entire guide helps you conquer your initial phases as a freelance web designer. All the points mentioned above are an extract from a freelancer’s life. So, you are not the only one facing such problems. And with constant determination to work, you will be able to earn much more than any of your corporate jobs.