Life as a struggling free lance web designer

A few weeks ago, I was talking shop with a fellow free lance web designer.  We were sharing horror stories about struggling times. After a few unmentionable stories, some which made both of us shake our head in disbelief at some of our business practices as a young and inexperience free lance web designer.

“Man I use to get projects by promising to do this and that…”  “It was nothing for me to quote a price of …”  After a few laughs, we began discussing how to help new free lance web designer.  Being a huge believer in quoting your value, building services, looking for the right project, and asking for help.  My short list consisted of the following.

Value based quotes

One of the first things, you (free lance designer) should do is look for value with a potential project.  The other day, an old client asked me for a quote.  He was pushed for time, so he mention that he needed membership page, and directory.  He was a member of a non profit organization.  They had an existing web site.   The site had not been updated in several years, it had blog posts dated back to 2013.

After a quick review of the site.  I noticed volunteer page, which had an outdated and non functioning form.  The form had several required fields, which if nothing was place in the fields…you could still submit the form.  A donation page, which provided an email and address to forward donations.  A huge no-no…potential donors are not going to write a check and mail it, or better place a call to you and provide their credit card.  Social media icons, which connected to incorrect pages or broken links.  The site was clean and very professional, just not well kept.

My quote consisted of a membership site, which would allow the organization the ability to collect dues.  Once a member had paid his/her dues, then they would be granted access to directory.  The directory would allow the active member to search for other members, and keep certain fields private.  The directory would also allow individuals the ability to post individual social media platforms (which is the best way to communicate).  A volunteer page would be created with a functioning form, and list of activities to volunteer for….and if you are not a member, then that information would be forward to the members.  An event calendar page would be created to showcase upcoming events and important dates.  Lastly, we would have a donation page.  The donation page would provide instant pdf receipts to all donors, as well as, offer donor the option to have donations as a recurring event and fee recovery items (pay the 2.9% most payment gateways charge).  All donations would be forward to the organization’s bank account.

After the quote was sent, I was greeted with “Why do you make my life so difficult”.  I just add value…

Building Services

One of the first lessons that I learned from my business mentor, was every thing is a opportunity.  Your number 1 goal is to identify the opportunity.  Showcase the problems and create solutions.  Not a solution, but solutions.  Building services is always apart of my solutions.

Create a web site, offer management services, and since I do branding… help to drive the client’s target audience to their site.  Giving more exposure is not apart of the web design project…that is branding, or another services.  All web sites need a hosting platform, I have partner with a web hosting platform.  All my projects are greeted with the offer of a fast performing hosting solution with cloud back up and content delivery network.  Security is a huge issue for all web site owners, and I offer a package.  Updating WordPress Core, Plugins and Themes…yes, I can do that.  These are all services, which need to be done.  Why would you not offer these services… 

Look for the right opportunities

Putting yourself in front of potential clients is not an easy task.  Making sure you are not using “Hope Marketing” is critical.  Stop believing that since you have a web site, attend a few networking events (which you never speak up), or talk rarely to a few clients that is enough to keep your sales funnel full.  There are several effective marketing techniques.

Marketing is really another word for gaining traction.  Have you thought about guest blogging?  Are you active on social media (an I am not talking about pictures of your son/daughter’s play or sporting activity)?  Never mix personal social media and business social media one…Having a podcast is the latest craze.  Creating pay per click ads about what you can do.  Another way to create the right opportunities.

Get some help

Get some help has nothing to do with your mental state.  Make sure you have a good network.  Fellow designer, entrepreneurs, and a select few members of my family make up my inner circle.  Love to bounce off ideals and how past ideals or opportunities are going.

Take breaks.  Get away from your desk.  Stop looking at job boards.  Do not contact clients’ who do not know your value.  Look for ways to create value…ask for work.

Image courtesy of Hannah Grace.


JDS WebDesign is a Web Design and Brand Marketing Agency located in Marietta, Georgia.  We create AWESOME on line presence for Start-ups and Influential People/Organizations.  To learn more about us or how we can help you and your organization, you can contact us.

Subscribe To JDS WebDesign E-Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates JDS WebDesign.

You have Successfully Subscribed!