Freelance has revolutionised the traditional work environment and job finding. It allowed many to be reliant on their own skills and start working for themselves. It gave an ample leeway for individuality and self-expression to grow. Severing the knots and bounds of disinterest in one’s job, allowing to pursue self-development and material freedom.
Since the freelance market is improbably huge with a diverse selection of different opportunities one can indulge themselves in, it attracts an even wider audience of people to give it a try. Especially, with the IT field undergoing a resurgent boom, we can see how many programmers and web designers offer their professional skills on the job market.
Finding clients as a freelance web designer can prove to be quite challenging. The problem arises here due to the freelance market and, in particular, the web design field is oversaturated. And as a freelancer, you probably are looking for a consistent stream of opportunities to uphold your growth and fame. This is where a new freelancer might get discouraged even to the degree of giving up the idea due to the high competitiveness and frequent monopolisation on some platforms.
Don’t chagrin just yet. There are viable ways for a new web designer to find clients and, thereafter facilitate the growth of “self-branding”.
In this article, we will take a look at various methods that the internet has bestowed upon us. Additionally, this careful look at each opportunity will be done through the purview of a callow web designer.
Freelance web design platforms and their pros & cons.
Probably the first avenue you might turn your attention to is the variability of freelance platforms. These offer a convenient and easy way to find a client instantaneously and rid yourself of a need to scrupulously scour the internet prairie.
Let us then take a more in-depth look at the most notable examples of such platforms and their pros and cons.
- Upwork. This platform is probably the first search hit that Google will endow you with. There is no denying that Upwork is a huge platform that boasts an already established framework of client-freelancer relationships. The problem with Upwork, however, is how competitive it is. There are simply too many people that are ready to do the same job for a price lower than minimum wage in most countries. Such circumstances nullify and discourage most of the effort people are willing to make.
- 99DESIGNS. Here website and graphic designers are expected to feel like butter in a pan. Since 99DESIGNS is solely focused on the designers of every calibre imaginable: from above mentioned graphic and website designers to logo creators and concept artists, this exclusivity indeed helps with overcrowdedness. The issue here is how the overall “contest” works. It lacks not only a reciprocal and constant connection with the client that is so crucial in design. It also exalts clients to an omniscient God-like being that can choose whatever design he/she likes from the 100+ pool of sometimes stolen and plagiarised ones. This lack of intimacy and details about clients’ preferences` definitely hurts the general impression.
- Fiverr. Fiverr is another big name in the game. Fiverr offers a platform of colossal magnitude that doesn’t restrict your freelance avenues in any way. There are a plethora of design-related projects you can try to get into. From website design all the way to branding and flyer design. Although Fiverr can be a great stepping block on the path of becoming a successful freelancer, it is still overly competitive. A lot of people offers an inferior service for a penny which, again, is not something you might want to do full time.
Build your own business as a freelancer.
With web design freelance, it is imperative to look beyond the standard scheme of “freelancing”. The crucial thing is not to put an entirety of yourself into one venture like freelance platforms. The gist here is to ramify and expand your scope of exposure.
In freelancing, success is causatively dependent upon how many people know about your existence as a professional. By improving upon this aspect, you almost guarantee yourself at least some worthy payment at minimum. There is also another aspect that is worth mentioning. Although it might seem insignificant, remember that being a freelancer doesn’t mean restricting yourself to a category of a low-cost service provider that many associate the word “freelance” with. Instead, it is better to veer off of this crude denomination.
How to freelance – the right way.
Therefore, without further ado, the crux of freelancing is the ability to promote your website and advertise yourself. People ought to know about your service and distinctive characteristics that make you stand out from the rest. Below are a few admonitions that might be helpful:
- First and foremost, building new connections and maintaining old ones is essential in getting consistent job opportunities. Therefore, whenever you deal with the client, try to stay in touch with him/her, as this might help you land another job opportunity in the future. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and client’s acquaintances that might need a similar job done.
- Your best bet would be to become an outsourced freelancer for a big company. This will not only ensure that you are getting a fairly consistent stream of work and thus getting paid handsomely, but it also has a big impact on your overall portfolio. Since most clients in the future will gladly give precedence to you, provided that you have an experience of working in a big company, rather than to someone without one.
- When you garnered a fairly great experience and clientele, there is no real obstacle for you not to create your own site, promoting your abilities. This will help you to expand to an even bigger scale. Especially with a quality SEO and blog-writing you can further refine your portfolio and increase the flow of job opportunities coming your way. Not to mention that SEO services like LinksManagement will help you achieve desired SEO rankings with quality guest posting in no time.
How to build a successful freelance web design business.
Invest 2 hours a day working on your own business. This approach includes branding, social media advertising and especially SEO work on your website and outside of your website such as link building.
When I first started, I ordered flyers, business cards, etc. Little I knew that I would never have to actually meet business owners in the face to be able to sell my freelance web design services!
90% of my clients come from Google organic search results. Spending 2 hours a day working on improving my website and reputation for a whole year allowed me to get enough enquiries to live well without having to outreach.
Here is what you can do, more specifically:
- Sign up to as many business directories as you possibly can, using consistent contact information, especially your business Name, Address and Phone Number.
- Use Ubersuggest to research your competitors, find their best keywords and backlinks so you can start working on your on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
- Create a social media profile on as many platforms as you can.
- Create a business account on as many reputation platforms as you can, such as Trustpilot, Google My Business, etc.
- Create an irresistible discount or offer to get reviews from every client who you work with. Tell them about this offer as soon as the website is ready to go live. Say something like “I would love to offer you a 10% discount on your annual hosting fee. The only thing I would ask in return is for you to share your feedback about my services on Trustpilot.”
If you do the above mentioned, you will be able to grow your freelancing business as you would if you had a limited company.
The bottom line is: don’t stress too much about freelance platforms! Although they offer a great variety of job opportunities, they tend to downplay your real skills and discourage you from ever tackling freelancing ever again. Sites like that can be useful as the first block of success building but not as the primary source of motivation and freelance revenue. Branching out, diversifying, and promoting your craft should be the mainstay for your aspiring freelance career.