4 Tips for Becoming a Successful Freelance Web Designer
In this article, I am going to talk about some of the things that I have learned through experience are necessary and beneficial to becoming a successful freelance web designer. Let’s face it – as a freelancer, you wear multiple hats on any given day! A lot of people count on you and there are a lot of different things that you must do and do well. Personally, I love freelance
The value of being organized when it comes to freelancing cannot be underestimated. From your emails, to your contracts, to your bank accounts, keeping things organized is worth every minute it takes you to do it – even if and especially if it takes you several hours a day! The earlier you can set up a system for doing things and filing things and start using it, the better.
My Advice: I am not always the most organized person in the world, but I make a real effort to be so when it comes to my
This is also really, really important. With any project comes a myriad of different things that must be done – from writing and signing contracts and proposals, to designing the site, to invoices and bookkeeping. You must constantly be prioritizing your time – which things have to be done right now? Which things do I need to do before I can move on to the next step? Which things have to be done but can wait to be done till the end of the project?
My Advice: When it comes to designing or redesigning a client’s site, I always try to start with something that the client will be able to see. I think that in the first few days and weeks, a client needs the reassurance of being able to actually see that something is happening and that work is taking place. Once I have the basic site set up, then it’s OK to work on things in the background, things that the client won’t necessarily be able to see – search engine optimization, programming, etc. This leads to our next point, which is – communication.
Communication with your client is absolutely essential. You don’t want to be a nuisance (obviously!) but clients will really appreciate being kept in the loop. People will feel more confident about you and about the project when you are in touch with them regularly and explain (briefly) what you are doing and what has been accomplished. It can also save you time in the long run when you and the client are communicating about the project as you go along (I am not saying you need to ask the client for advice and for the “go ahead” for every step of the way, this will most definitely NOT save you time! It will only give you a head ache. Trust me – been there, done that, not doing it again! ).
Being available and responsive to your clients is also important – the client needs to know that they can get in touch with you within a few hours if they need to.
My Advice: Communication is one of my strong areas, and I really think that it has had a large part in being successful as a freelance web designer. I make a point to be available to and in touch with my clients regularly. I send them emails every day or every week, whenever another major step has been taken in the project, just so they know what is going on and where you are at. And I always try to write to or call them back within a few hours or at least within the day when they try to get in touch with me.
I am a planner – I love making plans and following plans! I know that not everyone is that way, but I do think that you should at least try to have some sort of game plan when it comes to freelance design projects. It will save you time, effort and head aches if you have at least a general outline for the project.
My Advice: Personally, I usually start with the basic “skeleton” design of the project first. Not the detailed design, just the basic design – get the site set up and functional and looking like a shell of the finished project. Then I start plugging in the content. Of course, the design will often change a bit during this stage. That is why I don’t do the entire design first, just the basic layout at the beginning. Once we have all of the content in and the site is set up the way we want, I will finish the design – creating and integrating graphics and color schemes, etc. From there, it is just fine tuning and tying up loose ends until you and the client are both satisfied and then your project is complete. Obviously there is a LOT more to it than that – but at least that is a basic plan for the project. In my opinion – if you start with the graphics and then try and set the site up around the graphics and then try and plug the content into the site you just set up, chances are you are going to have to redo a lot of what you already did. Not necessarily – I realize that everyone has a different way of going about things – I just know that that would not work for me personally. So – come up with a plan or strategy that works best for you and try to stick with it.