When you have a regular job, you tend to be tied down doing it from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. This happens not two or three but five days a week.
Looking forward to the weekend is your weekly plea and hating Mondays is the new fun thing to do.
Some are able to build their careers and use this to gain traction in their respective fields. The others just work and look forward to the next pay.
The waiting goes on for days, then weeks, then years. And you notice that you have spent your life doing something that took the most time out of your life. Only to realize that you scrambled to make a living, but not really LIVING.
You made a living to have a life not fully experienced.
Whether we admit it or not, we need it for the money. We work our a$$e$ off to have money.
This is the new normal. Sad, but true.
What we want is to do something we are passionate about without losing time for the other things that we love.
We don’t want a schedule that we have to go around just so we can squeeze in time for our loved ones. When you ponder hard, this is not how life is supposed to be lived.
Sometimes we wonder if we could ever be brave enough, get out of this hole and pursue our passion.
What’s the point to all this, you ask? We will get to that shortly.
Now, if you are brave enough to face the world and not get regular pay from an employer, freelance work may be something you want to do.
The Beauty of Freelancing–What Is In Store for a Website Designer Like You
Unlike putting up your own business, freelancing doesn’t require you to shell out that much money. All you need is your time and the tricks of the trade.
Freelancing allows you to manage your time without having to file for a leave. It creates a whole new level of freedom that opens your eyes to challenges because at this point, it’s just you and your ass.
Freelancing has evolved in this era. It is becoming more popular now that we are transforming into a cognitive-cultural economy.
Through it, more creative people who profit on personal services see this as an opportunity without harming the careers they want to build for themselves.
Freelancing may sound easy as long as you love what you do, but loving writing doesn’t mean you can always become a freelancer. Having this kind of career takes a lot of hard work.
How you earn from freelancing depends on the industry you are in, your skills, and experience.
One of the most popular is writing but one of the highest paid freelancing jobs is web design/development.
The age of millions of webpages has brought forth the need for writers’ valuable content. The thing is, the web designers were there first, hired by private companies or organizations to put up these websites.
The benefits are mutual because freelancers work at their own pace and get paid well while their clients get the results that they want to fulfill their purpose.
Freelance website designing is a fulfilling job to do. It gives you the flexibility of time that you need in performing other duties you have in your life. You can express your creativity without having a boss behind your back that dictates how you should do your job.
Are you passionate about web designing? Do you consider yourself an expert in web development? Want your career in these fields to grow but don’t know where to start?
9 Tips and Tricks to Prepare Yoursel Before You Find Website Clients
Before looking out and eyeing your first client, you have to prepare several things first. The list below may seem long, but we made it so because we want to cover everything. So hang on tight and learn, and let’s dive into the nitty gritty of things.
1. Decide and Sever Ties
Freelance designing doesn’t work if you still have a long-term engagement with a company. It would be a conflict of interest for these companies. So saying your goodbyes are needed.
Terminating your contract before moving into freelancing will avoid legal problems. It is important to grow, but it doesn’t necessarily mean burning bridges. Past employments are essential in expanding your horizon as a web designer.
2. Prepare Your Online Resume
Update your resume and make sure to include all valuable web designing experiences. This will reflect how long you’ve been in the field before going out into the world of doing freelance work. Highlight past experiences why your future clients should hire you.
It is important to secure a PDF copy of your resume for easier access for clients. Prepare a word version of it in case your client asks for one.
You can also get creative and showcase your designing skills by making a resume infographic. You can even create a video resume for clients who prefer those.
It is up to you how you want to present it, but it’s better to leave a great first impression. Avoid grammatical errors.
3. Create a brand for your website designing services.
Make sure this brand reflects how you want your company to be perceived. This branding is essential for your future clients to remember you by.
You may design your logo, choose particular colors to be used when dealing with clients. Be consistent in establishing your brand. Make sure this is reflected on your website, on your social media pages, brochures, and even business cards.
Your brand should not be a façade of but should exude the realness of your personality in the web designing industry. It should represent your creativity as well as your honesty.
4. Create Your Own Website
Since you are building a career on web designing, you should have your own website. It should look professional but not too professional that it would seem generic like other designers’ websites.
Let it carry the branding you have created for your services. It must be unique and visually display your skills to grab your clients’ attention.
An unorganized website typically repels possible clients because they cannot figure their way into your site. It should be easy to navigate and give your clients a clue on how you design websites. It should be unforgettable.
Make sure that your contact page can easily be seen.
As much as possible, your clients should be able to reach you through your work email. But having your phone number posted is your preference if you don’t get to check your email often.
5. Build a Stunning Portfolio
Your work portfolio must be easily accessible on your site. Aside from your own website, possible clients will have a clue on your design aesthetics through your portfolio.
Organize these as well and not just squeeze everything in one folder. Arrange them according to theme, timeline, client, field of work; however you may fancy.
Include everything, even if it is no longer your design style, because you’ll never know when somebody will hire you for that type of project again.
6. Rev Up Your Social Proof and Get New Website Clients
Make sure all your social media accounts are linked on your website. Your social media profiles should exhibit professionalism and authority on the web designing fields. Utilize all aspects offered by social media sites.
Use your Facebook account to comment on web designing relevant topics so readers all over the world will have a clue on your knowledge. Make sure to share good articles to your followers. Connect well with your social media contacts.
On Twitter, follow people who are better than you in field designing. You will have a clue as to what goes on in their days as well as other web design and freelance tips they can share.
Always be active, even on LinkedIn. You will be able to interact with people who are in the field as well. Since you are active on these social media networks, you get to air out your views a lot.
This is a privilege to expand your market so always maintain a positive social media attitude. It doesn’t mean you should always be happy. You can maintain a positive social media profile by avoiding or not sharing negativity on your page.
7. Snap Up Those Business Cards
Underrated as they may seem but business cards are still important nowadays. Asking them to contact you on Facebook is too unprofessional but you can always give your email to someone.
Have a set of business cards printed stating your services, your contact information, etc. Your business card should not be too cluttered because you’re a designer and bad design definitely is a red flag.
Make sure it is also uniform to the brand your website and your other social media carry. And never forget it in the car or in your house because these business cards are meant to be given away.
Always carry them in your pockets or bring at least 20 in case you encounter a crowd that is interested in your services.
8. Check Your Grammar
Use correct grammar. You may have the best designing skills but if you fail to achieve a tolerable level of writing skill, your client might think twice about acquiring your services.
Some people cannot spell well that’s why grammar correcting websites have been put up. It is important to establish a professional profile through correctly spelled and grammatically correct descriptions.
Do not reply to clients like this: “Got ur email….. willrplay in a bit. THX! Xo”.
Nothing sends a client away than misspelled mails, wrong punctuation marks, capital letters in the wrongs places and a whole lot more.
Don’t be cringey. You have free time now, look into grammar.
9. It Never Hurts to Proofread
Proofread everything. If you cannot do it independently, ask someone to do it for you. Have them to at least look into your article, and check grammar lapses, misspellings, misplaced punctuation, etc.
To achieve better result, hire someone to professionally do it for you.
Let them do it on your resume, website, all your profiles, your articles, email signatures, etc., because these all leave a lasting impression on your clients. It is important to hire professionals to do this for you.
As the original author of what you have written, you sometimes have a whole thought expressed in your head but will be able to express some parts of it only.
A proofreader will fill the blanks of these fragmented thoughts. If your text expresses the correct and well-written ideas, your clients will have a better chance of understanding your terms.
You are now equipped with necessary tools to move forward into the world of freelance web designing. This is only the beginning and it will still take a while before you get used to being the master of yourself.
Now, Where AND How Do You Find Clients
As a freelancer, your lifeblood will now be THE CLIENTS. They will be your world. They are now your “apple of the eye”.
But how do you find website clients? And where do you find them?
They’re actually everywhere.
Your first client could be the woman one seat away from you talking on her phone and waiting for the bus. It could be that guy who walked past you a few minutes ago.
But how do you REALLY find them and how do you reel them in?
Here are some tips:
1. Consider This a Hunt
This is a hunt. There are plenty of website designers and developers all over the world that can offer the services you can give you clients.
But you must not back down because website developing requires commitment and stamina especially if you are working for yourself.
You have to hunt every day. Do not get frustrated and disappointed if you don’t land a project after sending tons of emails in one day.
You may sound like a broken record after talking to tons of people, but keep in mind that even Thomas Edison tried over a thousand materials to light a bulb.
Imagine if he got frustrated. It would be such a dim thought. Fall 22 times, stand up 23. Brush the dirt off your shoulders and continue the hunt.
2. Start within your local community.
It is not so difficult to get out there and begin within your area.
Get out of your front door, talk to people and you’ll never know what you’ll find. Actually don’t go out the front door yet. One of your family members could be starting a project, and you may want to help them out.
These could be your pet projects but make sure to receive payments from them. It is essential in the creative industry to establish that this is not just a hobby.
It is crucial to tell people close to you that you do not just do website developing because it is fun or just to waste time. Establish that this is your livelihood and you need to get paid for your creative services.
Anyway, you can ask for the fraction of the amount from your family members if you launch a pet project for them.
You can launch a simple yet functional website for your father’s carpentry sideline and attract a community of carpenters within the area.
For your mom, you can help her gain confidence in her cooking skills by launching an all her recipe website.
You can help your neighbor’s weekly sale of painting by launching a painting website with him. It all starts within your area and the people you know to get the information go around. Don’t forget your business cards.
3. Contact membership organizations.
You can begin with organizations that you belong in the first place.
These organizations could be the organizations you were in college, high school, or grade school. Do not expect to be paid too much since these are school-based organizations that do not really profit that much from their websites.
This is a really good networking opportunity because you’ll never know who belongs in those in those organizations now. Your past chess organization, volunteering organization could have members who are dedicated to launching the project with you as well.
Try not to leave out any groups just because you had a rift with a co-member two decades ago.
Try contacting social organizations like clubs or the foundations that you are familiar with and offer your services.
These organizations are more likely to hire your services because they want to reach out to as many people as possible. Help them make it happen by creating a website for them.
Both parties will mutually benefit because you are helping them get their purpose across and they will help you build your portfolio under a good cause.
This will help in your network building strategy as well as exposure to different fields people are interested in.
4. Local business.
Local businesses are one of the foundations of an economically healthy community. Help your local businesses around you be known all over the world by helping them in putting up their website.
The tendency is, if they have met you and known you before, they would be excited because local businesses tend to focus within their area only.
Giving them an opportunity to be introduced outside your local area will give them a chance to expand their local business.
It is important to establish that although you are helping them, you are also offering your professional services and you should be properly compensated for it.
It is okay to have a cool relationship with clients, but it is important that professionalism should be present when needed.
Local businesses that start small have particular themes and ideas they wanted to associate their business with.
It is important to know about these so you may understand and fuse your work’s brand with their theme and create a cohesive project.
Communication is key. It is important that you don’t push your design aesthetics to other people. Let them realize it and they’ll appreciate if you suggest, not dictate.
5. Look for an influencer.
This could be a group or a single person that has lots of connections and is willing to help you get the word around.
You cannot do this all alone, and it valuing other people’s services is needed to market your services. This can be done mutually if they have anything for you to advertise or if they want you to create a website for them.
A good example would be talking to the owner of your favorite restaurant.
Other freelance workers such as writers often do this.They would put up food reviews of the restaurant on their website in exchange of good food. Of course, the restaurant would serve their best foods for the best reviews.
The restaurant owners would then advertise on their social media groups to visit this particular writer’s website to check the food review.
This is a win-win situation because people will read the reviews and check out the restaurant themselves. The writer will not only gain tons of traffic on his or her website, but other restaurants might offer the same deal as well.
As a website developer, you may offer this kind of exchange deal with your favorite restaurant, for example.
You can do it for free and they will have a website launching party and they would advertise that you were the one responsible for the site.
You can earn from this by invoicing a monthly service fee if they decide to keep it and they require you to maintain it. They may even refer you to other restaurant owners so you can put up their websites for them. Win-win.
6. Publish content. Create your own blog.
Having concrete content on websites is important because as a developer this is what you do.
Keep in mind that website designing and development are your fields but there are other ways to make your career grow and be known.
Through websites and social media accounts, you can publish your musing and your daily brainfarts. Publishing your articles in journals or other credible sites exposes you to the radar of other like-minded people.
Through this, you may get criticisms but it is through these that you may grow as an independent contractor. Some of the most established web designers and developers not only have published their content online, but they have published books as well.
As a developing building in the middle of a busy city, do not compare yourself to the skyscrapers. Who knows, your makers are probably turning you into the tallest building in the area—you just don’t know about it yet.
Simultaneously publishing content, on print or online, and website developing can be a daunting task but you chose this and stand up for this. Not only patience, but perseverance is also a virtue.
Don’t forget that even if you’re publishing content internationally, you should consider your local community.
People still read local newspapers and you could write a weekly or a monthly column about your field of work or anything relevant to it.
7. Organize workshops.
As someone who is an expert on your field, it is important to share your knowledge as well.
Yes, publishing content is important but face to face interaction is valuable especially if you wanna express honesty regarding your work. It is essential that before you go out and pouring out into the world what you know, you reach out people close to you first.
You can organize workshops for people who want to learn what you do. You do not need a huge sum to organize an event like this. Just let them bring their laptops or their notebooks, and they’re all set.
Your workshops do not necessarily have to be for the younger ones but for elderly ones who are interested as well.
You may want to conduct workshops about website development. Or you can offer and host workshops about design aesthetics the next day.
You can even teach people about how to maintain their career as an independent website designer.
From these workshops locally, you may even be invited to conduct workshops farther. It is important to have a face behind the brand instead of just building a good profile online.
You can expand your network better through workshops because nothing can be more fun than sharing your knowledge about what you are most passionate about.
It is why you’re here in this business, right?
8. Good LinkedIn profile.
To create your professional profile, your Facebook page is not enough. Some professionals don’t even have Facebook accounts.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, it’s best that you pause now and create one. Now. Okay, you’re back. So, now that you have one, it is important to build a good LinkedIn profile.
Some professionals create the horror of too detailed, misspelled and grammatically incorrect LinkedIn profiles.
Provide concise detail of your previous and current employment which is easy. Just post links of your websites, resume, and even your blog but do not include descriptions anymore.
Remember to include your previously published articles on the site to establish authority on what you do.
In the summary of your profiles, just write what you do, your expertise, a brief explanation of projects you are open to doing—that are it.
If you want to include a quote, just keep it simple and motivating. There are others that try to inspire but just seem boastful and preachy. Remember to keep your page professional and positive.
You did not create a LinkedIn profile to stalk others. You made a LinkedIn account to create a community different from the one you have on Facebook.
Join groups that are related to your field and participate actively in discussions. Share your thoughts intellectually and not the way you would relate to people when you’re on Facebook.
This way, you are exposed to people who have similar passions as you.
Most people are not familiar and they don’t use LinkedIn so it’s important that you keep your personal connections open.
9. Participate in Job Boards.
Okay, creating connections and meeting other people will not assure you that they will hire you for a project.
Join job boards where people who are in need of your services are there for the taking. It would hurt to apply for short-term jobs since you would know how much time you will be working on that project.
You can visit sites like Stackoverflow, Github, Android Jobs, Core Intuition, Dribbble, Behance, and Coroflot.
Always apply for jobs you know you are qualified.
10. Share on Facebook.
Using Facebook to attract potential clients will not make you less of a designer. It is has been invented for a reason. People from all walks of life Flock on Facebook for a reason.
Almost is everyone is there judging everyone’s social media profile. Why not take advantage of this? Establish your profile to your friends as the freelance web developer who knows a lot about his craft and can deliver projects well. Share to remind people of your presence but not share to the point of annoying them.
Avoid sharing or airing out negativity on your account. If you can’t help it, turn it into something that will educate your readers.
Share journal articles that would enlighten people of what you do. Share blog posts that will give people a glimpse of what you do. Share to inspire and spread knowledge but do not share to impose your authority over everybody.
Do this carefully because there is a thin line between being someone who enlightens and someone who boasts.
11. Party with like-minded people.
Yes, I did say that right. Going to parties have evolved into something synonymous to drinking but before everything goes all loose, you have simply chat with everyone.
Well not necessarily a party, at least go to social events. This is far from establishing yourself as someone from your LinkedIn profile. This is you, as a human interacting with other people and the same time potential collaborators.
It would be difficult for people if you keep on imposing yourself as the web developer all the time so build genuine human connections first.
Interacting with like-minded people is different from interacting with your neighbors. These people know what you feel and know exactly what you do. It is important to share ideas and brainstorm in order to grow.
If you are able to create good and sincere connections with these people working on your field, there is a huge possibility that they may refer you to future clients in the future.
Don’t forget your business cards. Always carry them in your pockets.
Here is an excellent guide on how to host your own Web Designers Party.
12. Talk to 3 People Every Day
At least three people. Talk to at least three people about what you do everyday. Try. Saying means believing. And if you believe in yourself, other people will follow suit.
Sharing to at least three people what you’re passionate about will make you gain confidence in yourself. And there are three people who may or may not, spread the word about you. The thing is when you talk to people, make sure you’re doing something about it too.
Being a web developer/designer scouting in clients is a challenging task if you look at it from the backseat. The best way to encourage yourself to do this is to take one day at a time.
Taking things one day at a time and seizing the day while you’re at it creates a challenge that is not too overwhelming. It is okay to look at things on a bigger picture once in a while to check if you are still walking on the path towards your goal.
They say to start a thing is easier than ending it. Well, you don’t want your career as a web developer to end.
The next thing after launching your career is to maintain it and keep a steady flow of clients regularly. What are the ways to keep your clients and maintain a good working relationship with them?
13. Maintain Clarity
This world will not be built and humanity will not survive without clear communication. All societies will crumble to the ground if we do not communicate clearly with our co-people.
To maintain a good relationship with your clients is to have clear communication. If email exchanges are not enough to discuss a certain project and they are out in Africa on a Safari tour, there are many video calling options available.
If this is not enough to establish a clear communication between the two of you, it might be the time to talk to each other face to face. If diagrams on a whiteboard should be drawn, go ahead and do so.
Clear communication and level-headedness, that’s it.
14. Be Passionate
Whole-heartedly. You are not required to do this but at least make your clients feel that you are doing this particular project for the money.
We all know we are, but you would not lose them if you let them know that you are doing this from your heart. Facing codes or developing websites can still be an outlet of your wholehearted effort for your clients.
They will recognize if you created a website half-assed or with all your heart. You did not become a web developer to contribute ugly websites to the World Wide Web so might as well do your best.
15. Be Committed
Commit. The thing is you agreed to do this job and you are expected to finish this based on the given time. If you commit to something it means you have assessed your capabilities and your skills and you know if you can and cannot deliver a project.
If you have committed to a project already, do not contact your client two weeks later, only to tell him that you cannot finish the job. This will create a negative ripple effect on your profile. You know yourself, commit yourself to things you know you can do.
Well, basically do not overcommit. Do not say yes to a client and agree that you can put up a live website in 24 hours if at your best, you only were able to do this in 72 hours. Be honest to yourself and do not over commit.
16. Know Thyself
Know yourself. You entered this business knowing your skills. There are many programming languages, but you have mastered a few of those yet. Your client then demands that you perform a certain task that you know you cannot fulfill.
If you have developed some parts of the site already and is missing out on this one, ask your client if you can just hire someone else to do that part.
It wouldn’t hurt to admit your weaknesses, but I would be better if you study other aspects of your career that might be of use in the future.
17. Chin up.
I’m not saying to be snobbish but know your limits and stick to the compensation that best mirrors your skill. Do not be desperate and grab every project just to keep yourself busy.
Desperation to maintain and keep a project is not worthwhile because you are bringing your value down. As time goes by, you know what projects to do and what projects to turn down.
These baby projects are for those who are still starting. You not yet at the top of the food chain but you’re not at the bottom either.
18. Load up.
Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. If you are not busy publishing books or sharing your well-written journal article to the world, you might as well chill and read for a bit.
Or you may explore other things that would enhance your knowledge on web designing. There are new websites put out everyday and catching up on those is important.
Everyday new designs come to life. Some popular designs die down eventually. Load yourself up with knowledge so you are ready to face hurdles in your career in the future.
Now that’s a whole lot to digest. The key is to keep a positive spirit from the start. Believe in yourself when going out into the world and establishing you in a career that everyone is competing for.
Utilize social media platforms but never forget that there humans, flesh, and bone, behind every profile picture and every account.
Know when to hold your head up high but keep in mind that humility will not hurt. Always equip yourself with knowledge, keep your brain working and don’t let it turn into a porridge.
The online world is a vast space and working on web designing is just one of the fields out there. Explore more of the online world and design aesthetics.
Be proud of your belief in designs but learn to respect the way others work as well. This is a diverse world, we can’t all agree with each other.
Remember all these rules but keep in mind that Picasso also said: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”