Just like every other designer in the world, it’s the dream of many Belgian designers to become a freelance web designer. However, only a handful of them have knowledge about the level of talent, commitment, time and business thinking ability required to become a successful freelancer. Actually there is so much to think about when becoming self-employed, some people just don’t want to try it at all.
Before deciding to become a freelance web designer, you must carefully consider all the possibilities. Prematurely deciding to start freelancing, without having a professional network, fine tuned skills and the entrepreneurial spirit, can severely damage one’s career and mental health. So, here are some tips that will help you do it the right way.
Do a little research
This is something that’s important for anyone who wants to become a freelancer; designer or otherwise. Starting to freelance is going to completely change your career and lifestyle, and you need to get to know exactly how it’s going to change your life, before you dive in.
Fine tune your skills
If you have been working for years as a web designer, and have an extensive portfolio, you can ignore this one. However, if you are a newbie to the field, it is important to polish up your designing and developing skills. The best way to do this is obtaining a full-time job in web designing or developing. Of course this is the most frustrating task. But it will help you gain knowledge and build your professional network, which will immensely help you when freelancing in the future.
Make yourself a brand
The success of a freelance web designer almost exclusively depends on his ability to make himself into a brand. Branding yourself can help you build credibility and client loyalty, while also improving the marketing strategy.
Build a portfolio website
This is actually a no brainer. The first thing that any potential customer would ask a freelancer is about his or her previous work. So you must have a portfolio website to send them for observation. Most of the time, your portfolio website will be the first thing that your prospective client will use to judge your talents. So try to make it your best work. Keep the following points in your mind when creating your portfolio.
- Single-page portfolios are more convenient
- Include a contact page
- Try to highlight the most important things
Prepare legal documents
Even if you are a one person, it is better to keep things as official as possible. Before you start working on a project, make sure that you sign a contract with your client. This will guarantee that you get paid after you deliver your work.
Find a few “Portfolio Building” customers
One of the main obstacles that any freelance web designer (or any freelancer for that matter) face is finding their first few clients. No one wants to hire a nobody, and unfortunately you will be a nobody until you find your first few clients. One method you can try to find customers is advertising locally. You can also find some non-profit organizations and do some work for them for free or a small price.
However, remember not to overdo it. Never do anything more than a 1-page web template for free. But never lower the quality of your work. You are building your portfolio. So try to make something great.
Make a schedule
One of the keys to becoming a successful freelancer is working according to a schedule. Having a schedule will help you get your work done in time. So always maintain a daily, weekly and monthly schedules.
Make a business plan
Having a business plan is very important for every freelancer. It will help you in improving your freelance career from a hobby to a business.
Use social networks
Becoming a successful freelance web designer is all about gaining recognition. Letting more people know what you are doing will get you more business. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to let people know about you. You use them , not only to promote your portfolio, but to get feedback on your current projects.
Reinvest your income
It is always a good idea to invest some of the money you earned as a freelancer back into your business. Don’t spend your whole income on bills and “nice things that you always wanted to buy”. Put aside a fix percentage of your monthly income and use it to develop your business.
Learn new tricks
If you want to become a successful freelance web designer in Belgium, you must always keep up with the new trends and keep learning.