Turn your hobby into your profession web designer

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Each month we look how people have successfully turned their hobby into their profession. This month we continue this feature with web design. Here we will be discussing the most important factors and issues you may come across when you set up your own business as a freelance web designer.

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Turn your hobby into your profession web designer

  1. 1. Turn your hobby into your profession Freelance web designerEach month we look how people have successfully turned their hobby into their profession. This month we continue this feature with web design. Here we will be discussing the most importantfactors and issues you may come across when you set up your own business as a freelance web designer.
  2. 2. Freelance Web designIn today’s internet-driven world, having a well-designed website is essential for running asuccessful business. A huge proportion ofbusiness is conducted via company websites.Therefore web designers are in great demandand play a very important part in the onlinebusiness environment.There are many factors to consider whendeveloping a web site. It is often the initial pointof contact between the customer and thecompany so the website should be visuallyattractive but also be functional. The websitemust help the user find the information they arelooking for and make it easy for the user to makea purchase. Because of the technicalrequirements and huge importance of webdesign many companies call in professional webdesigners to develop a robust website. It is common for web designers to begin their career working at a web design or a digital marketing company before becoming freelancers. This is because it is important to know how your role fits in with other digital services. However, this is not essential. Technically you don’t need any professional qualifications to become a web designer, you could be self-taught. However, any relevant qualifications (for example, in graphic design) are likely to impress potential clients. The most important demonstration of your ability is your portfolio, which will be discussed in this post. This is a fast changing industry so it will require you to keep up to date with developments in software, best practice and skills.
  3. 3. Specialising Developing your businessThere are many different aspects to A large amount of business may comedesigning an effective website and from other freelancers or smallmany skills involved in its creation. businesses who have either just startedMany designers choose to specialise in up or are getting the online side of theira certain area of design, for example, business up to speed. Therefore it isJoomla web design, ecommerce web important to network with otherdesign, graphic design or Word press freelancers and small businesses. Youweb design. As a web designer you should also network with othercould also chose to specialise by freelance web designers. Instead ofvertical, for example, you could seeing them as competition; view themspecialise in creating online dating as a people you can share knowledgewebsites or websites for financial with.services providers. This could helpattract clients, if you become wellknown for your high quality of work in aspecific type of web design. One way of building links with otherYou could also think about offering freelancers and web designers is byadditional web services so that your establishing a strong social mediaclients can come to you for more than presence, on sites like Facebook andone service and you will be able to Twitter, to accompany your website andextend the client relationship. Clients portfolio. Make sure you regularlywho are redesigning their website may discuss the latest trends andalso be interested in mobile web design, developments in the industry via thesegraphic design for banners, e-commerce channels, add lots of influential contacts(online shopping) services, SEO services, and even blog about your thoughts. Thisand copy writing services. will help you build up a wide range of contacts in the industry and you will beWhilst there are obvious advantages to more likely to attract work fromtaking on a greater range of work, you prestigious clients.must ensure that you don’t spreadyourself too thin. As a freelancer you You could look into further trainingwill be solely responsible for the options to keep your skills fresh. Butcompletion of all work, so by taking on there is no substitute for experience;too much, the quality of work may often you can get the best training andsuffer or you could deliver late on advice from other freelance webprojects. designers who have been working in the industry for a long time.
  4. 4. Legal documents It is important to create legal documents with your clients to protect your rights and deal with problems, should there be any. The first thing you need to do is create a contract with your client that sets out all the terms and conditions of the project. You should also create a copyright agreement. As a web designer it is important to protect your work, prevent your work form being miss-credited and have control over who can use your work. It is extremely important for you to research copyright law and be able to apply it your work. The way you charge for your work should also be discussed with the client before any work is carried out. There are two ways you could chose to charge for your work. The first method is fixed-price. This means that you charge a fixed price for a set project which you agree with the client ahead of time, irrelevant of how long it takes to complete the work. It can be difficult to determine a fixed-price for a project before actually completing the work, however this method also means that designer’s with efficient methods for saving time won’t be unfairly penalised with a low cost. Alternatively, you could choose to charge your clients per hour. This method means it is much harder to be under or over paid for a project. However, this also means that you will need to fill out timesheets and there needs to be an effective way to transfer timesheets back and forth between yourself and the client. For this you should look at small business accounting software which allows you to track the time you spend on each project and generate flexible timesheet reports to pass onto the client. Summary Success as a freelance web designer ultimately depends on your ability to establish yourself in this highly competitive industry, and also your ability to network with others. There are relatively low entry barriers to establishing yourself and experience will be your greatest asset. It is a fast moving industry so you need to take aproactive and innovative attitude to finding work and keeping up-to- date with industry developments.

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