There are plenty of obstacles between the starting point of freelancing and running your own successful business but if becoming a freelance web designer is your dream, here are some steps to take to rise to the challenge . All business start-ups require a lot of work and the rewards do not always outweigh the risks. Being a professional web designer requires knowledge of various techniques and technology, as well as an artistic eye. Running your own business requires stellar time-management skills and the ability to hustle hard to get it started. If those obstacles do not deter you and you still have the desire to be your own boss in a field with unlimited potential for growth in your own creativity, then good for you! Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to get there.
Step 1: Research
Before you start out on your own it is a good idea to research the initial costs that you might encounter as a freelance web designer. You need to look at the costs of buying new software and paying for a domain and hosting services for your website. If you’re going to use subscription-based websites for images or other content, you need to budget for those. Just getting an idea of your basic living expenses on top of taxes and insurance costs, will help you decide how much you need to charge in hourly or package rates and how much you need to work to stay afloat.
Step 2: Make a Business Plan
In order to succeed in any entrepreneurial pursuit you need a plan. Making a business plan seems daunting and complicated but it doesn't have to be. There are a few step-by-step guides available online and plenty of books written on the subject. An easy way to get started is to outline your short term, medium term, and long term goals using the S.M.A.R.T system of goal setting, in which your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. All solopreneurs also need to figure out how to deal with taxes or if they need to budget for an accountant. If you have the funds to meet with an accountant early on in your endeavors, they will be able to tell you what type of business you should set yourself up as for tax purposes and such. If you do not have the money to hire an accountant, plan to spend some more time researching small business taxes.
Step 3: Build a Portfolio
A great web designer portfolio showed reflect your brand and be showcased on your own amazing website. It should show that you not only have talent and can give clients what they need, but that you are also an experience professional who can get the job done. When a potential client visits your website it should absorb and attract them long enough that they want to contact you, the designer of the awesome space. However, it is best to make your website clean and simple to use, keeping in mind that many clients may not be the most tech savvy. You could try an impactful one page portfolio that you can continue to update and change as your brand evolves. It is also a good idea to prepare your web designer resume so that you can provide it to clients upon request.
If you are just starting out in the web designing world, you can build your portfolio by doing some freebies for local businesses or other start-ups. Alternatively, you could try trading work with a fellow freelancer who is just starting out. You could also create and sell templates which will set you up with some passive income while also getting your name out there.
Step 4: Become a Brand
This is where web designers really get to play with their creative side. You need to build an ascetic for your entire business, with a mind to eventually building brand loyalty. Your website should match the aesthetic of your logo and business cards so that when a client looks at them they can get a sense of who you are and know immediately what your brand is all about. It is a good idea to create an “elevator pitch” that narrows your expertise and services into a tidy little sound bit, that you can use to build your brand on.
Choosing your niche will help you with all the other steps you need to take in order to go from starting out to professional web designer. In the beginning you don’t have to commit to just one type of service, you can start off by offering a variety of services, such as logo design, web design, and basic coding before deciding on your niche. Once you’ve worked a while and know what type of projects you love and where your expertise lies, your niche will determine what you need to do for your brand to progress. This might include areas you’d like to study further and become and expert in and what kind of networking you might want to do. You can share your journey as a web designer and keep your website current by having a regular blog that attracts potential clients and reminds them of your expertise.
Step 5: Get Attention
While your building your website you should be using social media to expand your reach. Although you may have started using instagram or pinterest a long time ago for fun, it’s time to get serious about linking your social media to your business. Have links available from all your social media accounts to your business website which showcases your best work. Be sure to be on the best social media platforms that increase exposure in your niche area. Follow and tag businesses that relate to what you do, it’s an integral part of online networking.
Aside from cultivating your online presence as a professional web designer, you should have business cards to hand out in real life when you meet prospective clients or people who can pass your information on to someone who is in need of your services. Much like your website, you want to be sure the look and design of your business cards match your aesthetic. Not sure where to meet people to had out your business cards too? Attend local workshops, conferences and events related to your niche.
As with any freelancer starting out, don’t forget to sign up to freelancing platforms, like Sagegroupy, in order to start getting the attention of prospective clients. Be sure to keep your profile and links on those platforms up-to-date and showcasing your latest awesome work. Make sure that you are the web designer that potential clients are looking for. Building a successful business takes a lot of work, you can expect to work much more than the standard 40 hour work-week to get it off the ground. However, all that hard work comes with the reward of being able to earn a living doing what you love and being your own boss. If you have the will and the drive to follow these steps the you can succeed as a solopreneur.