If you’re visually creative and like the idea of working for yourself, a career as a freelance web designer might be a perfect fit. But whether you’re a new web designer or a seasoned pro looking to branch out on your own, you need a plan to succeed in your venture. 

This guide will help you get started by covering the following:

  • Reasons to become a freelance web designer
  • Skills you need to become a freelance web designer
  • How to become a freelance web designer
  • How to find clients as a freelance web designer

Reasons to become a freelance web designer

There are many reasons to become a freelance web designer. Freedom is a dominating motivation for aspiring freelancers since you get to choose when you work and for whom. In addition, you can determine how much time to dedicate to job tasks, enabling you to balance work and life responsibilities more easily. 

Another benefit of a freelance web design career is that you get the chance to learn new techniques regularly. Each work project might require different approaches and resources, giving you opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge. In addition, working with varying types of clients allows you to practice your collaboration and communication techniques.

Finally, if you like web design and enjoy expressing yourself creatively, freelancing as a web designer basically lets you use your hobby to generate income. Of course, you’ll need to get clients to generate income. We’ll discuss finding clients later in this guide.

Skills you need to become a freelance web designer

Any creative freelancer needs solid communication skills to be able to charm clients and identify their needs quickly. Whether you’re meeting clients remotely or in person, the sooner you can determine what they want and create a brief that reflects what they asked for, the better. 

In addition, you need some talent for project management since you’ll manage all your projects yourself. You also need an eye for detail to help you spot and correct any errors before sending the work to the client. If you partner with a web developer, you also need the ability to explain your vision in a way they’ll understand. 

Good web designers will have at least a basic understanding of HTML, CSS and other coding languages. They’ll also be familiar with the most popular website software. Having this knowledge will help you understand what a developer can achieve with customised coding or website builders like WordPress, Shopify, SquareSpace or Wix.

Start by making a list of which skills you already possess and perhaps look into training courses to develop the abilities you currently don’t have.

How to become a freelance web designer

The first thing you need to do is complete a few tasks that anyone looking to start freelancing needs to get done. Most of these tasks relate to how you’ll pay taxes going forward (as self-employed, you manage your taxes yourself). 

One of those tasks is registering your new company with HMRC. As a freelancer, you might choose to register as a sole trader since it tends to involve less paperwork when doing taxes or accounting. That said, registering as a limited company also has its advantages. If you’re unsure which structure to pick, this article provides a comparison between the two.

Next, you need to get to work and start finding clients for your new freelance business. Every freelancer needs a steady stream of income to survive, so it’s important to know the most effective methods for attracting paying clients. 

How to find clients as a freelance web designer

Some web designers might already have such an impressive portfolio that clients come running right away. That said, most freelancers need to work to attract paying customers, especially in the early stages. Here are a few techniques you can use to promote yourself:

Website 

Creating a good website should be the first step for freelancing web designers. After all, a website is a perfect place to show off your skills through your portfolio and the site itself. 

Host examples of your best designs and provide background information to demonstrate how you achieved your results. Then complement your portfolio with a stunning website design to show visitors you know your stuff. 

Your website also helps you increase brand awareness, so visitors recognise you as soon as they visit it. Also, remember to include a page that explains who you are and what you do, and add your contact details so people can easily get in touch to book a meeting with you. 

Network

While a website is crucial to your new business venture, we also recommend leveraging traditional marketing methods to get the word out about your services. For example, browse for local business meetups and social events where you can meet and mingle with clients and other designers. 

A tip is to go to these events with the goal to form connections, not to make sales. We all know how annoying it is when salespeople try to force their offers on you. To avoid coming across as a pushy salesperson, start conversations to gauge if they have a need for what you’re offering. If you build rapport first, people are more likely to listen to your offer. 

Social media

Most businesses will benefit from using social media to promote themselves. Use your platforms to post design tips and info, join groups, connect, and communicate with potential clients. Doing this consistently will help you sell your freelance business as a knowledgable and trustworthy source for web design topics. 

It’s also free to create an account on most social media platforms. Beware that building a following can take time, but once you succeed, you can reach a large number of potential clients with minimal effort. 

How to manage your finances 

If you leverage these methods successfully, you’ll be well on your way towards a successful freelancing career. As you bring in more clients, you’ll also need to manage the new income. 

As a freelancer, you’re responsible for your own financial management on top of the work you do for clients. Thousands of freelancers across the UK use the Countingup app to make this simple. 

Countingup a two-in-one business current account and accounting software that lets you manage all your financial activities in one place. The app comes with features like invoicing on the go, tax estimates, and live cash flow insights. All these tools and more will empower you to confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

Find out more here.