All About Freelance Web Design

Freelance web designers have the advantage of being in a field that is constantly growing and in need of capable individuals.

Freelance web design, like any freelance business, can be rewarding and profitable as well as the perfect career solution for the creative entrepreneur. The industry is constantly growing and in need of capable individuals that can produce effective designs for all types of organizations and businesses.

If you are looking to begin a career in freelance web design, there are some things to keep in mind. Not only to do you have think about creating a pleasing product for your customer, but there are some real business issues you need to be aware of.

1. Establishing your freelance web design business

Freelancers are small business owners. You will still have to follow some general business rules. In the event that the government audits your small business, you want to show that you have been following the rules by the book, especially since most freelancers are sole proprietors and are therefore not personally protected by incorporation.

First, you will have to obtain a business license from your local government. Some cities do not charge for the license; some charge a nominal fee. Contact your city or town for more details.

Secondly, for every freelance project you undertake, you will have to pay taxes. The company that hired you will expect you to fill out a 1099 form, which most times they will send to you. If they do not send one to you, then you need to download it from the IRS website and submit with your taxes. (Note: If you are a sole proprietor or a one-owner incorporated business, you will be able to submit your business tax information on the same form as your personal tax information. Most freelancers do not need to file separate business taxes.

Finally, it is a good idea to get business cards, letterhead and your own website for your web design company. Even though you are a freelancer, it is important to show that you are a serious and established designer. Furthermore, your website will speak volumes about your work.

2. Portfolio

The most important asset for any freelancer is his or her portfolio. A portfolio is basically a file of completed work. Good portfolios show variety. For example, for your web design business, you will want to show a web project that you did for a small art studio contrasted against a web design you did for a large e-commerce business (or similar contrasts).

If you do not have a portfolio that reflects a spectrum of capabilities, no one will know what you can do. It is vitally important that you create one. Those who just start out typically either do "fake" projects for make-believe companies, or, more commonly, they will offer to design a site for a local small business.

Once your freelance business takes off, you will need to constantly update your portfolio.

3. Marketing

Especially when just starting out, you need to market your services aggressively. You can log into freelance forums on the web to find projects that you can then bid on. Attend local business council and chamber of commerce meetings. Email your friends and ask them to share your web address and services. Offer to do pro-bono work in exchange for leaving your logo on the site you have done. Pass out those business cards and send follow-up notes with your letter head at every opportunity.

4. Reputation

Finally, your reputation as a designer is your most important asset. You must establish a reputation for being timely, customer-service savvy and competitively priced. Furthermore, your designs themselves will help you establish your reputation. For this reason, it is important that every project you design be top-notch and something you would be proud to show in your portfolio.

If someone really likes your design, they will not only ask who did it, but they will most likely be apt to share your services with others. Do your best design every time.

© High Speed Ventures 2011