Not everyone who works as a web designer works in a dedicated office and with the same clients every day. Many people find that they prefer the freedom and flexibility that comes from working at home and accepting freelance clients. When the freelance life seems like the life for you, stop and take a look at what the job entails, the scams to avoid and where you can find clients.
How to Find Freelance Work
If you want to find freelance work, you need to know how to search for clients both online and off. There are thousands of websites where you can find freelance jobs posted, and you can also try auction sites. These sites let clients post jobs, and freelance artists bid on those jobs. Craigslist and similar websites are another good option. You can post information about the jobs you do, a link to your online portfolio and sample rates. Many freelance web designers also find work offline. They contact local businesses and companies to inquire about any web design needs they have. Some designers also look at websites that need help and contact the owners of those sites.
Hilde Torbjornsen suggests that you learn to say no if you want to find success freelancing. Clients can ask you dozens of questions, but you must decide when enough is enough. Someone who constantly sends work back for revisions, requires a lot of hand holding and frequently asks for additional changes will take you away from good clients. The best clients are those who know exactly what they want and need and can explain their needs to you.
The typical working environment for a freelancer depends on where you want to work. Many people work from home out of a home office, but you can make your home office anywhere you want. You might even find yourself working late hours while sitting on your bed and listening to music. Lynn Dixon recommends that you keep your office organized with spreadsheets and various documents. Those documents will help you keep track of your client information, when assignments are due and where you are on different projects.
Looking at the expected salary of a freelance web designer is difficult. Glass Door lists the median salary for a web designer at $50,000 a year with a reported low of $35,000 and a reported high of $75,000. Does that mean that you will start making $50,000 or more in your first year working in the freelance field? The amount of money that you make depends on how well you can market yourself and the clients that you land. You might make $20,000 or less when you first start out, but the more time you spend marketing yourself and making new connections, the more money you can make.
What to Avoid
A guide on working in the freelance world should include some tips on what to avoid. No matter how long you work as a designer, working as a freelancer doesn’t come with the same guarantees that you would have when working in other fields. You never know when a client will stop payment on a check or disappear without paying you for your work, and you never know when a job will require more work than you intended. Identifying potential problems before beginning a job is key. Look for signs that a client cannot make up his or her mind, issues relating to how the client acts in person or over the phone and how that person treats other workers. You can also request separate payments. This ensures that the client pays a portion of the money due every time you submit another part of the project.
Freelance web designers have the chance to work the hours they want to work. You can take time away from work for a vacation or when your kids are sick, and you can use your work to develop a great portfolio, but you need to know that freelance work isn’t always as easy as it looks.