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How to Start Your Own Freelance Web Design Business

Starting your own freelance web design business can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Saying goodbye to the security of a steady paycheck and 9 to 5 job is not easy but can end up being so rewarding.

If you keep the steps below in mind as you start your own freelance web design business, you’re sure to succeed!

Ensure You Are Mentally Prepared

The idea of starting your own business is an exciting idea, but the reality is way less romantic than what you might think.

I’ve seen an unbelievable amount of videos depicting people who started their own online business and their lives are spent hanging out on the beach only working a few hours a day.

The reality is that in order to get to this point, these same people spent long, caffeine-induced work sessions in front of their computers building their business.

Setting the right expectations for yourself will allow you to push through the difficult times and be prepared mentally.

Have Logistics in Order

Being organized and having the right tools is essential to starting your own freelance web design business.

As a freelancer, your set of tools may include templates for proposals, invoicing systems like Freshbooks or PayPal, etc.

Having these items readily available in your toolbox will help you prepare for clients more quickly and give your business the face of professionalism even if it is just you behind the computer!

Ask Friends for Referrals

It’s 2019 – we live in the wild world of technology where you see an advertisement every time you turn on the tv, computer, or your phone.

Someone is always promoting themselves or their product.

But one form of advertising that will always prove to be the most tried and true is word of mouth.

So, don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family to keep you in mind when they hear of a business or friend who is looking for a web designer.

In fact, I got my very first client this way only 3 months after I started designing sites. It works!

Develop Relationships with Local Businesses

Small businesses like to help small businesses.

Leaning on each other for advice and help is how we stay afloat.

So, develop relationships with local businesses around you.

Maintaining personal relationships within your local community will be beneficial to your business in many ways.

You never know what may come out of it.

They could be your next client or refer your next client to you.

Calculate Your Value

One of the hardest parts of transitioning into freelancing is calculating your value.

There are tons of articles, infographics, and tools that you can reference to help you figure out how much to charge for building a website.

However, many freelancers will end up charging too little at first.

Don’t be one of those guys!

Don’t be afraid to say “no” to someone who thinks that your rate is too high and wants you to charge them considerably less than you’re comfortable with.

Be confident in your value and stick with your rate.

Spy On Your Competition

I’m not saying you should plagiarize your competition, but you should keep an eye on the work that they are doing for inspiration.

What are they doing that you are not? Can you benefit from it? Should you stay away from it?

Spying on your competition will allow you to stay at the forefront of new web design trends and topics by seeing fresh, new content.

Something I like to do is use tools like SEMrush to see how my competition is doing organically, what ads they are running, and how many backlinks they have.

Learn From Others

Never stop learning, honing your craft, and improving your skills.

Whether you are seeking advice from other freelancers or learning a new hack from a fellow web designer, it will be beneficial to you and your business to continue expanding your knowledge.

I constantly stay up-to-date on the latest news in SEO and digital marketing in general by reading sites like Search Engine Land and Moz.com.

Go Above and Beyond

It’s all about the hustle.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – but time, hard work, and determination will get you where you want to be.

Go above and beyond what the client asks for and you’ll find that those same people will continue coming back to you for other web design requests.

Those satisfied, loyal clients will also spread the word to their friends, families, and customers and help you build and maintain your business all because of the quality of work that you returned to them.

A good mantra to live by is under-promise and over-deliver.


Starting a freelance web design business can be a challenging feat, but following these simple principles coupled with patience and a little bit of luck will help you succeed.

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