There are many free tools and resources on the web which can equip wannabe web designers to hone their design skills and creativity. As the market gets competitive, freelance designers take on more difficult challenges in order to win jobs consistently and attain the success that they desire. In this article, we will tackle some tips on how to find success as a freelance website designer.
1. Emulate the Traits of Successful Web Designers
Designers do not immediately become successful even if they are great at their craft. Without the traits and personality of being a successful one, they cannot move to bigger projects as a freelancer. They should have good communication skills, as well as patience, to be able to relate well with both potential and existing clients.
Having the right communication skills is needed because before closing a project and signing a contract for a website design project, there are negotiations that should be made. If the designer showcases a great portfolio of designs without being able to communicate it well with the client, the deal might not push through. Talk is not cheap when it comes to marketing your own skills and previous works as a freelancer.
Second, you should be able to build and practice patience. This trait is especially important during times when there are no clients accepting your proposition or when you have irritable clients who are not willing to pay until you revise your work as they demand for the nth time. If you are not patient enough, the work that’s half-done won’t be given monetary credit at all.
2. Request for Feedback
It won’t help you if the only person reviewing and revisiting the web design is you alone. A good way to get insight for your work is to ask designer friends or those in the same circle for critique as they may have a different eye and may suggest a better take on the design.
Sometimes, it’s easy as a designer to become too immersed with your own style and thoughts that you personalize the website according to your preference, without considering the preference of the majority. Implementing a feedback system will help you be more open to both positive and negative critique. As a professional, it’s important that you know how to embrace criticisms to improve your work.
3. Get Broad Experience
If you’re a newbie in the field of freelancing in web design, try to get as much experience as you can. Don’t just turn down projects just because the clients are asking for a lower fee than your standard. If you have the time and resources, take the project and challenge yourself to make a unique design that’s in pace with new technologies. Apply your recently acquired design skills on the website and test other techniques to develop your skills set. This is one way of gaining experiences that you can showcase and mention to future clients. When you have more experiences under your belt, you will have more chances to move quicker up on the ladder of success.
4. Be Disciplined
Freelancers are considered bosses of their own, as they are not salaried employees of one company. When taking tasks, you should make sure to always deliver quality work on time. Try not to become too lax, or comfortable, even if you’re working from home. Talent is not enough! Since you’re basically putting on a one-man show, your designs should reflect the value of your discipline and professionalism as well. When you are fully dedicated to your web design business, you will have stronger motivation to carry on and be able to withstand times when you’re not feeling inspired to work at all. Respect a work schedule (e.g. 8 hours a day) and don’t let yourself get burnt out.
5. Build and Maintain a Good Profile
Independent web designers shouldn’t just work on building a good portfolio of designs, they should also develop a good profile on the web. Whenever you have clients, it’s good to ask them to write you a testimony. Optimize your own webpage with keywords to match the terms that potential clients would use when searching for web designers online. Make sure you have a separate account intended for business only. It’s also recommended that you carry a business card wherever you go so you can give contact information to new people you meet while on the road.
Surviving as a freelancer also requires having the right mindset or a certain level of readiness to deliver. Before designing, you must plan by doing a research on the client’s business and mission/vision, asking for expectations and looking over for competitor’s work for the same client industry. Here you will uncover trends in the market and find what’s most suitable for your client’s website design.