Thinking of becoming a web designer? This article is was made to enlighten you regarding how you can build a successful freelance web design business. By the end of this article you will have learned a thing or two about supercharging your freelance career. What you need to do is establish what sort of skills you have. Once you are fully aware of what you are capable of, you can begin researching for more info online.
There are dozens of different projects that require different sets of skills, and you are sure to fit into one of those. This is exactly why you need to establish why you are good at, what you enjoy doing and what you can do successfully. Find out below what you need to do in order supercharge your freelance career.
Learn about Websites
It goes without saying that whether you are a developer or a designer you will need to learn some basic skills and make sure you learn everything about them. For example, there is no question that you will need to learn HTML and CSS. Moreover, you would be doing yourself a favor if you learn Dreamweaver and some basics of Photoshop so you could always use it to create graphic design elements. It is probably for the best that you get yourself familiarized with the following:
- PHP is your best bet when it comes to server-side programming language. Learn it, it will come in handy;
- It will pay off heavily if you have know-how in the databases region. SQL would probably be the best bet;
- You may want to learn to use WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. These are Content Management Systems. I would prefer WordPress if I were you. You should be aces with the Social Media because that will be your main marketing tool.
Familiarize yourself with the aforementioned and learn how you can use them with each other. This increases your productivity and frankly, you will be saving a lot of time and resources. You will get to know that later in your career. You may want to buy a hosting package and start setting up dummy websites with unique designs, just for practice. Play with everything you have learned so far and always strive to achieve new knowledge
While this may not fall directly under your domain, which it kind of does, you should learn how to troubleshoot. By that, I mean learn everything there is to know about web design. You should practice hard enough to run into all sorts of different problems, and you should be able to fix those troubles. Troubleshooting is important, if you can fix complex situations, it will give you an edge in the industry. To help you out, consider the following:
- Learn how to perform a Google Search in a proper manner. You need to phrase your problems well enough for the results to be good and that is what your focus should be. It’s more difficult than it sounds.
- As far as HTML and CSS is concerned, familiarize yourself with Firebug for Firefox, or similar tools if you are using other browsers.
In order to be a good designer, one thing you definitely need is good communication. Without that, you won’t even be able to get what the project is. You need to stay in constant touch with your client and make sure you get every detail right. You need to keep them updated with every tiny change you make in the design process. Consider the following:
- Keep in touch via e-mails
- If you are chatting on Skype, make sure you take notes. Later send them an e-mail summarizing your discussion, highlighting important points
- Make note everything you have to do, also note when you need to do it, as you communicate with your client. This will promote punctuality
- Check in with your clients on a regular basis and make sure you don’t forget even if the client does
- Use plain and simple language when learning what the client wants
You will need a personalized website of your own that you develop yourself. This personalized website will be your strongest selling point. If you are having doubts, consider this, wouldn’t it make sense for a top notch designer to have a top notch website? If you have a well-designed website that you have designed entirely by yourself, people will naturally understand that you will be able to do the same for them. If your prime quality is web design, you can flaunt some of your developments on the website. It will function as a very well-organized and interesting resume for potential employers. It will be the prime way to market yourself and potentially bring you loads of clients.
Let’s establish one thing straight up. Never stop learning. Trends are changing, trends are your friends, stick to the friends and always keep up-to-date. Also, this will further your knowledge in the chosen field.
There are various different aspects of web design as you all know. One thing that pays off really well, is to specialize in one particular aspect of that field. Pick out an aspect which you enjoy the most, it could be templates, layouts, themes, graphic elements, placement etc. absolutely anything you want. You just need to be able to enjoy that one particular aspect. Learn as much as you can about that aspect, and specialize in it. This will give you a certain edge compared to the other general designers out there. Take some time out to learn where the focus from clients is being laid, and specials. You will be doing yourself a favor.
Manage your Time
You don’t need to bite more than you can chew. Make sure you have a timetable, and make sure you stick to it. Do not sign off more than one client if you cannot deliver them what you promised. Instead, keep a notebook, and make notes of your activities and how long they take. This will give you an accurate measure of how much time you need for certain activities. Have a screening process for clients. Do not be greedy and sign on every single client that comes your way. Once you have developed a name for yourself, you will need clients that make you look good, that make your portfolio look good. Sign them on. Make sure the project is worth your time and don’t take up every xyz that comes your way.
Finally, build yourself a killer portfolio.