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What does a Freelance Web Designer do?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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A freelance Web designer is responsible for finding new clients, creating proofs for client review and designing a Website's layout and functionality. The level of complexity of the design depends upon the client's needs, the skill set of the designer and the budget of the project. A freelance Web designer works independently, providing Website design to a range of clients. He or she operates as an entrepreneur, using industry contacts to build a portfolio of work for potential clients to review.

Many people who want to become freelance Web designer have an overly romantic view of this type of work. As a freelance operation, there is no guarantee of work each day, and the designer must divide his or her time between design work and finding new clients. The reasons for selecting this career are varied and range from starting a new career to needing the flexibility to accommodate family obligations.

Finding new clients requires a combination of advertising, business contacts and references. A freelance Web designer can develop a professional relationship with a Website hosting company, which can provide referrals for clients who need a Web designer. Advertising in local business listings is a great way to develop a reputation, as is building an online portfolio of work performed.

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After meeting with the client to review the client's Website needs, the designer creates a proof for review and discussion. This usually is a whiteboard drawing of how the site will look and function. During this stage, the client can easily see what the final product will look like and can make changes. Depending on the size of the organization and the Website, multiple meetings might be required.

Once the initial layout is approved, the freelance Web designer starts to work. He or she now starts to create the actual programming scripts required for the site. For many designers, this is the most rewarding aspect of their work. Once the skeleton of the site is completed, the client reviews the results and provides feedback. This adds time to the process but is invaluable as part of the client relationship.

The designer completes the rest of the project, building on the accepted designs and plans. Many designers post updates to a private Website and give the client a user name and password to access the work in progress. This allows the designer to work productively while giving the client the ability to track progress.

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kylee07drg
Post 4

There are websites out there that post freelance web designer jobs. This is where I go to find work.

Since these are major sites frequented by designers, there is quite a bit of competition. Many people will apply for the same job, so it helps to have some really good work in your online portfolio.

Out of the twenty jobs that I have applied for, I have gotten two. Still, that is better than nothing, and these two jobs are notches in my belt of experience and work samples.

I have a feeling that I will be able to land more jobs because of these two. You have to set up an account with the site that posts the jobs, and potential employers can see how many jobs you have completed with the site before. They also can see if you received positive or negative feedback.

orangey03
Post 3

@seag47 – I agree that you should start out working for someone else. I made the mistake of trying to start with freelance web design jobs only, and I ended up out of work for months.

Right after college, I decided to start my own web design business, and I would be the sole employee. I lived with my parents at the time, so this was going to be my way of saving up enough money to move out on my own.

No one wanted to hire me, because the only samples I had of past work were the test sites I had built in college. I had no reputation and no references, other than my professors.

After six months of trying to find work, I gave in and accepted a position inside a big company. It hurt a little to give up on my dream, but the salary, insurance, and paid vacation softened the blow quite a bit.

seag47
Post 2

@Oceana – Freelance jobs are only easy to come by once you have established a reputation. I wouldn't recommend quitting your job and then looking for freelance options. Instead, you should do a couple of freelance web design jobs in your spare time, while you are still employed by the big company.

After you do a couple of these, then your name and samples of your work are out there for the world to see. Always ask if you can put your name on the site as the designer, because if a viewer is particularly impressed with your work or needs a similar site designed, he will be more likely to contact you.

Also, you would be surprised how

powerful word of mouth is in this industry. People with web sites know other people who need them, and they will be quick to recommend you if you do a good job. This has happened to me, and it is how I keep getting jobs.
Oceana
Post 1

It would be great to be able to work for myself. I do web design in an office at a big company now, but I have so many physical ailments that staying at home and working would be ideal for me.

Are there any freelance web designers on here? How hard is your job? I am really curious about how hard it is to find clients and keep a steady flow of work coming.

I do have bills to pay, and I make a pretty good salary where I am at. I don't want to dive into anything that might make me lose my house and car, and that is the only reason I hesitate.

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