If you are a new best freelance web designer and you ride between project and project, overwhelmed because you need to develop X websites per month so that those hours of work are profitable, perhaps today it will open your eyes.
You will agree that working according to this model is neither healthy nor effective: at the stroke of a sold project, with work periods in which developments accumulate and others in which you do not receive orders.
Uncertainty and risk, because you know what you have today, but you have no idea what will happen tomorrow …
You need to change your mindset and start doing things differently:
- Get more out of your working hours.
- Focus on a single aspect of your work, but do it very well to position yourself as an expert.
- Find a way to sell automatically and recurrently, set up a system that takes you away from uncertainty.
A dream? No. You can make it happen, and I’ll explain how.
What is a freelance web designer?
A freelance web designer is a freelancer who is dedicated to designing websites.So far, good. But as a freelancer, a 21st-century web designer has to figure out how to make his business model profitable and make it scalable.
Why? I will explain it to you in a straightforward way.
Think about how long you need to develop a website. The time you will dedicate to each development will vary from the project’s specific needs: the number of pages, their complexity, whether they are modules that you can generate quickly, etc.
The first point to clarify is the average hours of work you need for each type of web development.
From here, reflect on a question: if that average that has come out is, for example, 20 hours of work, how many developments or web page designs will you be able to do each month?
I’ll tell you: if you work 8 hours a day, you can create two websites a week. Eight websites a month at best.
Do you see it feasible? Is that profitable for you? Does it fit into your calculations?
Many questions and I am sure that all your answers begin with a “it depends”: it depends on how the project is, how they send you the materials, it depends on how many changes they ask of you …
Too many “depend” on the equation to be able to claim that your freelance web design business is profitable.
But there is another way of doing things, of eliminating all those “it depends”.
And it is based on making a change in three aspects: your mentality, your offer, and your business model.
Let’s see how.
How to make a living as a freelance web designer today?
I’m going to be clear: a freelance web designer today has to become a professional who masters the specific techniques of their work area and has a business mentality and works so that each hour of homework is profitable and, in addition, effective.
How to get it? I will explain it to you in five steps.
TRAIN AS A WEB DESIGNER
The first step is obvious: you have to train as a web designer and be good at what you do.
There are many courses and training programs to train and master this profession.
But keep in mind that technology is advancing at a dizzying rate, and so are solutions and resources.
This means that you have to consider that you need to be in continuous training in your profession: attentive to news and new resources, learning new techniques systematically.
The web design of ten years ago has little to do with what is done today. And while many more resources facilitate the work, in turn, the range of demands and needs has dramatically expanded.
So do not be left behind and stop learning, acquiring new competencies and skills that make you among the best.
And, if you ask me for a recommendation, the School of Strategic Web Design could be an excellent place to start training.
SPECIALIZE IN A PLATFORM
You have to train, but you have to choose from the wide range of possibilities that exist and what exactly you will specialize in.
Talking about being a web designer today is like saying that you are a doctor. Yes, it is a profession, but there are many different areas and specialities.
In web design the same.
Pick a specific area, resource, or tool and focus on that. Then, learn and practice everything you can to become the select group of professionals who master it.
For example, you can be a web designer specializing in WordPress. However, you can still give it a further twist and specialize in web development with WordPress using the GeneratePress template.
What will you get out of it? Spark the resource, dominate it like no one else. And so you will develop the webs almost with your eyes closed, and you will gain in effectiveness and speed.
This is an example of the benefits of specialization: to be the best in a specific area, with which you will be more effective and will be able to offer concrete benefits and solve particular problems to an ideal client that will be easier for you to reach.
Create a specific response for a particular need. Focus on one, just one, but get it right.
CREATE YOUR BRAND
It would help if you created your brand. You are becoming the name that comes to mind for your ideal clients when they think of their needs.
Working on your brand will generate the necessary positioning in the market so that you are perceived as the required solution in your area of expertise. Get a status thanks to which you can raise the price of your services and become Premium.
And without fear, too. Because your ideal client will perceive you as the best in your area and will not mind paying more.
Consequently, you will work with higher-level clients, you will be more effective, and your work hour will yield more: you will be able to work with care and dedication and not in battle.
You are no more working 12 hours a day because you have to deliver websites like hotcakes to get afloat monthly billing.
How to work the personal brand you have spoken about in this blog on other occasions. So take your time, analyze everything, follow these steps and draw up your plan.
PACKAGE YOUR OFFER
The next step, create an irresistible offer for your ideal client.
It is about grouping your services in such a way that what you offer helps your client, transforms him from point A where he has a problem, a desire; and thanks to your help, takes him to stadium B, offers him a solution.
Remember what I have already told you in the first point: a solution problem.
Which is yours?
Suppose we continue with the example of the web designer who offers websites created with WordPress with GeneratePress. In that case, your offer could be a development package of n pages of the web in record time and with a fixed price.
But, in addition, in that package you can include premium plugins, site security, SEO positioning …
An irresistible package suddenly solves the problem that your ideal client has.
Suddenly, you go from not having a website to being online with a powerful and well-positioned website in the blink of an eye.
Thus, you can create different packages. For example, one with an essential service, another that covers a little more and a third with Premium services. Naturally, the higher the level, the higher the price.
CREATE A RECURRING SALES SYSTEM
Last point: you master your work, you specialize, you create your brand, and you are recognized, you get the most out of it with an ideal offer and, what is next? Find a way for customers to come to you regularly.
The idea is that you do not have to go out to find clients every month, nor do you live in fear that this month you have managed to sell many projects on the Internet, but perhaps none the following month.
No. You have to work with the assurance that you will sell new web development projects every month.
So what you need is to create the system to achieve it.
This system can vary in format, but getting customers to reach you automatically. To do this, you can create a webinar, an info-product that generates quality leads, or a Premium service, among other options. In your case, it could be, for example, the sale of pre-designs in an online store on your site.
New trends in freelance web design
To summarize a bit what we have seen and identify trends that you could try to incorporate in your own freelance business to make it better for you, to make it easier for you to attract clients and, above all, to be able to start acting like a true entrepreneur.
A true entrepreneur does not sell an hour of his time at a fee, but produces products, begins to automate processes, resorts to outsourcing part of the activity (the one that generates less value and consumes more time).
The new trends in web design are:
- Choose a large community: you want to move in environments that already generate many visits in themselves.
- Overspecialize your offer. As we have seen, focus on a specific solution and work to be the best.
- Distribute your input products in a mighty indirect channel. Create packaged services, starting from the most basic to Premium services.
- Sell products in your online store. A web designer will generally do this with WooCommerce, although they could also opt for Shopify. You have to go from the classic model of the reference portfolio of projects carried out towards an online store.
- Sell services as products at a fixed price. You can have several packages with more and more benefits, and you can also have a series of “a la carte” services, but the idea is really to sell services as products. Integrate these productized services into your online store.
- Manage customer support by web/email. Educate your clients to use this channel because, in this way, you will be able to outsource the activities that consume more time. Hire, as a Freelance, a guy to solve the doubts and problems of your clients.
A global model.
A model with more clients and with shorter projects.
A model with a lower average transaction (compared to the traditional custom design model).
A much better and less risky financial model than the traditional one.
A recurring model without work peaks and crossings through the desert.
I’m not telling you to abandon custom services overnight.
But yes, to incorporate touches of this model of services as products because I believe that the future of many freelancers goes through the model of one-person multinationals.
The model can be fully extrapolated to other communities and trades.
Three successful freelance web designers
Let’s see how everything I have told you is put into practice, analyzing the case of three successful freelance web designers.