Chris Hufnagel and I ran our first live office hours last week. Our topic was how to start your web design freelance career.
Here’s what we talked about:
- How we started freelancing and our experiences with different business models.
- What to learn first and what to focus on in acquiring new skills
- What are the biggest obstacles we face now in our work?
- How would we start freelancing today?
- How would we get our first clients?
Some key takeaways from our discussion:
- Start by focusing on learning just one app and one skill and slowly graduate from there. Don’t feel like you have to know all of the apps and everything that is out there right away.
- In the beginning, try to use one design app (like Figma.com) to do all of your design work: wireframes, sitemaps, graphics, website mockups, etc. Focus on knowing how to quickly use this app instead of mastering every feature.
- Start your freelancing by setting up your personal website and creating content. Build your audience and authority in the field. Write about what you’ve just learned, about your process, and projects you’re working on. Teaching other designers and developers can also bring new clients.
- If you don’t have any projects in your portfolio, create some personal side projects or come up with website templates for “fake” clients. Present those projects on your website and social media, write case studies, etc.
- Start building your network and let everyone know you’re available for work.
- Present more than just a design portfolio on your website. Tell your clients why you’re better than others. Work on your personal brand and tell your story on your website.