How to Become a Confident Freelance Web Designer

in collaboration with Webydo

Chances are that you’ll be working freelance quite a bit as a web designer, unless you work for a design firm in their actual offices. Even then, you may choose to supplement your income by doing freelance work on the side. Since many web designers will inevitably be involved with freelancing over the course of their careers, it pays to develop confidence as a freelancer.

Working as a freelancer means that you’ll have to fend for yourself, which is a challenge in and of itself. You’ll have no boss, sure, but this means that you’ll have to find all of your clients by yourself. You’ll have to handle marketing and networking on your own, too, so that you’ll always have a steady stream of clients. Without building up confidence in yourself, it can be hard to accomplish all of these things.

Another important thing to consider is a cloud-based CMS which means that you can service all your clients from one content management system. You might want to consider Webydo, web design platform made for freelancers and agencies who might have hundreds or thousands of clients.

When all’s said and done, the only real way to gain confidence is simply to start thinking of yourself as a real freelancer and put the following behaviors into practice.

Keep up to Date with Design and Tech

Rule number one for all web designers: Never stop learning. To keep your confidence high, you’ll have to continually read up on the latest trends and news in design and tech. That’s the only way that you can be sure that you’re offering your clients the best service.

This is perhaps the best way to differentiate yourself positively from your competitors. There are many web designers who don’t even know how to code; others aren’t familiar with the newest ways to code. If you can’t offer your leads and clients CSS3 and HTML5 knowhow and services, your confidence levels will take a plunge. Similarly, not knowing how to make a design responsive or optimize for mobile will come back to haunt you.

So take the time to understand the latest in design and tech, so that you’re always at the top of your game as a designer.

If you don’t want to take a formal class to up your design skills, then you’re in luck: There are plenty of free, sophisticated resources on the Internet, too. Here are some great choices:

Make Yourself Stand Out from All Other Web Designers

Alright, this may be a tall order, but it’s definitely doable if you invest passion, determination and effort into this goal. The truth is that there are many freelance web designers advertising their services on the Internet. That makes things extremely competitive, yet you want to separate yourself from the crowd as an exceptional designer to boost your confidence. Doing so will also garner more leads and business coming your way.

When leads see you as being able to provide something so unique that you’re their only solution—call it your unique selling proposition—then you’ll feel more confident because you’ll realize you’re in demand. Your USP doesn’t even have to be restricted to just one factor. It can be a combination of many things.

Look at it like this. You can do something design- or development-related better than everyone else. This makes you immediately attractive to leads and clients. Here are the selling points you can use to make yourself stand out from other designers:

  • Offer the best customer service around that’s always attentive and accountable to clients
  • Charge the lowest rates of anyone in your field
  • Provide the highest skill level based on deep knowhow of the latest tech
  • Target a certain niche exclusively (like mobile sites or e-commerce platforms)

As you get more and more clients because you’ve differentiated yourself clearly in this way, your confidence will grow, too.

Remember the Old Saying: Under-promise but Over-deliver

When you under-promise and over-deliver, you end up pleasantly surprising your clients. They were only expecting so much, yet you easily blew past said expectations by giving them a final result that was much better than what you had them initially believe. In their eyes, then, you appear extremely competent and like you went the extra mile for them. This’ll make them appreciate you more than ever, increasing the chances of a long-term relationship.

Here’s what’s really going to help boost your confidence as a designer, too: Your satisfied clients will almost become something like evangelist marketers for your web design brand. Think about this: When you provide them with an exceptional design that solves their conversion-rate problem or stellar customer service that tunes in to all of their needs, they’ll gladly tell other people about how you went above and beyond the norm to please them.

Learn to Charge Appropriately for Your Skills

One of the most effective ways of becoming confident as a freelancer is realizing that you’re providing an in-demand service for which you can charge a reasonable price. It’s important that you don’t lowball yourself, yet at the same time, you shouldn’t price yourself out of the market by charging too much. So how exactly can you determine that happy medium between the two extremes?

Break down how you’ll charge clients into three, distinct groups:

  • Hourly
  • By the project
  • By the page

Each has its own pros and cons. You’ll want to charge hourly to be the most straightforward for billing purposes, but the risk is that clients may get annoyed if it seems like you’re just running up their bill with extra hours. That’s where charging by the project or page can come in handy: It lets you and clients agree on a predetermined, set price for a project that won’t bring any surprises.

Honing Your Skills to Become a Confident Designer

Freelancing is fun and challenging at the same time because it tests you. You’re not just a creative who designs sites—you’re also an entrepreneur who has to manage your business effectively so that you make a profit while providing high-quality services.

The upside is that you’ll gain more confidence the longer you work as a freelance designer. With every new project, you’ll learn more, understand how to deal with clients more efficiently, and build your reputation as a designer. All of these points combine to make you a more confident freelance designer…in time.

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About the author

Author avatar
Houke de Kwant is a frontend developer from the Netherlands and the creator of TheArtHunters (former Daily Inspiration, which was started as part of his study).

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