Starting a freelance career as a web designer or developer

Thinking of starting a freelance career as a web designer or developer? This guide is for you.

If the idea of working as a freelance web designer is appealing to you, that’s not surprising.

Here are just a few benefits of starting a freelance career as a web designer or developer:

  • You get to be your own boss.
  • You can work from anywhere with the exception of the occasional, in-person client meeting.
  • The pay is nothing to sneeze at either.

Of course, there are also challenges of being a freelance career as a web designer or developer:

  • Clients can be both fickle and demanding.
  • The hours can be long.
  • Establishing yourself can take time.
  • There are also financial struggles to overcome.
  • When you no longer receive a guaranteed salary and must cover your own benefits, that’s a lot of pressure.

Still, these challenges can be overcome as long as you take action to ensure your career gets off to a great start.

Build on Your Skills

This piece assumes that you have web development and design skills.

You know how to code and test.

You’ve dealt with clients.

You understand the principles of design and can apply them.

That doesn’t mean you should remain stagnant.

Instead, identify the skills you need to develop and the tools you need to master to make yourself an even better web designer and freelancer.

This includes:

  • Mastering a Project Management Tool
  • Learning to Manage Your Time Better
  • Learning New Development Languages
  • Revisit Skills You Haven’t Used in Awhile
  • Becoming Educated in New Platforms and Content Management Systems

“One thing you can do is simply look at local and online job boards and freelancing websites. This is a great way to identify which skills are in demand, and where you need to fill in the gaps.”

– Jerry Freeman, UX writer at The Essay Typer

Create a Social Media Presence

Social media is the place where you will share updates about your business, reach out to and foster relationships with influencers and customers, and share your expertise. Facebook is still a must.

However, Tumblr will help you to reach a younger, more artistic audience.

You should also start a blog either through your own website or you can publish via Medium or other platforms.

This will be the place for you to discuss projects, thoughts on the industry, and other insights that can’t be condensed down to a post.

Finally, don’t forget LinkedIn. It’s a must for networking.

Design and Launch a Website and Portfolio

Of course, you’ll also need to build and launch your own website.

Not only will your site contain information about your company and the services you offer, but your site will also be a working demonstration of your web design skills.

You should design it yourself and make sure the most important functions work exceptionally well.

“One of the most important parts of your website will be your portfolio. This will show potential customers the kind of work that you’ve done, your specialties, even the clients you have worked for previously.”

Marcie Wells, a former freelancer and Best UK Writers designer.

Your portfolio should also contain your story as it pertains to your career and development as a web designer.

Create a Marketing Plan

As a one-person business, your marketing plan may not be exceedingly complex.  Still, you need to have one.

You should identify who your customers are going to be.

Will you serve other small businesses or try to land a corporate account?

Is there a specific type of business you are more interested in?

It’s also important to determine how you’ll advertise.

You can stick with simpler and less expensive options such as posting on freelancer websites and relying on social media.

You might also look into paid advertising options through Google or Facebook.

Get Your Paperwork Done

Before you get started freelancing as a web designer or developer, there’s likely to be some paperwork to do.

First, you may need to register your business name.

Depending on where you live, getting a license should also be on your list.

Some freelancers incorporate right away, for liability purposes.

In addition to this, there are corporations that will not work with independents that have not been incorporated.

You can do this on your own or find someone with the expertize in the niche on services like EasyAccounting or Fly Writing.


If you have great web development skills, a willingness to learn, and plenty of motivation, you can launch a successful career as a freelance web developer.

By taking the steps above, you can ensure you maintain the skill set you need, reach out to potential customers, and be prepared to deal with the daily tasks of operating your own business.

It won’t be long before you are enjoying a rewarding career as a freelancer.

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