From PJs to Paychecks: Your Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Designer

Daydreaming of not having to wake up early and go to work? Even better, working while wearing pajamas?
Freelance web design has made this dream come true for many people to embark on web design for business. Web designers are independent contractors who build interfaces that are easy to use and aesthetically pleasing for clients, regardless of the conditions set by the employers. They like deciding their working hours and sites selecting projects and being on their own.

However, before you pack away your business suits for fuzzy pajamas, note that there are a set of skills anyone who wants to work from home as a freelance web designer ought to possess and crucial procedures to follow.

This straightforward guide will give you all the tools that you require, from these design fundamentals to a successful freelance company. These freelance web designers make an average of $40 per hour in the US, meaning those with the skills and the drive can make good money freelancing.

Well, my friends, are you ready to land your dream freelance design job within the next few months? Let’s see how to do this most efficiently.

Web Design Foundations

Web Design Fundamentals

To create beautiful websites, it is necessary to learn the fundamental principles of design to which such websites should correspond. These principles form the foundation of any good website. Here are three key areas to focus on:

Typography: Typography is the same as the choice of clothes for the meeting, it defines the mood of the website. Discover various fonts and their uses, as well as how to combine them so that the result looks professional.
To begin with, free online courses and materials can be found easily. There is a variety of websites, where one can find typography for beginners.

Color Theory: Colors affect the users’ perceptions of your website in a profound way, therefore should be well chosen. Knowledge of color theory enables one to choose the right colors that will elicit the right emotions in people and the right colors for your brand. 

Some simple websites or cheap online boot camps can teach you about the basics of color and how it can be used in web design.

Layout: Website layout is simply how objects are placed on a website to give a well-mannered and easily navigated appearance. Layout principles are aimed at achieving the goal of letting a user easily and naturally find the desired piece of information.
Either use the internet to search for layout structures and common practices or use low-cost boot camps to get this information.

Design Software: Your Tools for the Trade

With the basics of design in mind, it is now high time to understand the tools that will help you see your visions through. Here are some essential design software options for web designers:

Adobe Photoshop: The best software for touch-up and image alteration in the current market. It is, however, costly but very effective when implemented in an organization.

Figma: A web design tool that is easy to use, and fast, and is perfect for creating prototypes and sharing them.

Sketch: Another well-known and widely used OS that’s more oriented towards the interface and user interaction. It has a one-month free trial, but to continue using the services, you have to pay after this first month.

Just always bear in mind that in most cases there are often free or relatively cheap options. There are some free software that can be used for image editing such as GIMP and there are some online design tools such as Canva. The important thing is to locate a program that fits your requirements and wallet.

User Experience (UX) Design: The first thing that needs to be put into consideration is the user.

Great websites don’t only look good, but they also feel good to use, or at least, they should. This is where UX design comes in. UX design majorly aims at improving the user experience through enhancing website usability.

Thus, knowing how users engage with websites, you can design layouts and navigation to ensure that the visitors can easily locate the content they need. For example, you can start with a website or an online course to learn about UX design.

Web Design Trends: Be inspired, but do not be a copycat.

I would like to conclude by reiterating that it is important to stay inspired when designing an identity, but one must not be a copycat.

Web design trends are ever changing with new trends being developed all the time. Although it is useful to know what is popular at the moment, it is much more beneficial to learn what is classical and unchangeable. Good design has a long-term usability perspective and a website with good design principles will look good and would be easy to navigate in the future.

How to Create a Business as a Freelance Web Designer?

Your Portfolio: Your Gateway to Clients

One can think of their portfolio as their professional online CV for any clients interested in their work. Freelance work is a great way to establish oneself as a designer and often, having a good portfolio of your work is a must.
But what if you don’t have client projects yet? Don’t worry! Here’s how to build an impressive portfolio:

Personal Projects: Make websites of your interest or passion and let your creativity flow in full. This enables you to try out different styles and layouts while at the same time showing your thinking process.

Spec Work: Select business places or websites and change them to your preference. This demonstrates your versatility in terms of the brands you have worked for and the industries you have worked in.

Pro Tip: When dealing with a portfolio website or online platform, it is better to have fewer but high-quality elements. Select the most outstanding pieces that will showcase your design skills and are likely to be appreciated by the target market.

Setting Your Rates

Freelance web designers use various strategies in determining their charges. Here are two common options:

Hourly Rate: This bills the clients on the number of hours you spend working on their project.

Project-Based Rate: This costs a specific amount of money for the whole project as agreed at the beginning of the project.

It is possible to use online resources to find out the average rates of freelance web designers. Do not forget that while setting your rates, you should also consider your time and that of your software along with any other expenses that the business will incur.

Finding Your First Clients: How to Go Fishing for Freelance Work

There are numerous ways through which one can get clients in the freelance market. Here are a few popular methods:

Online Marketplaces: Sites such as Upwork and Fiverr provide freelancers with opportunities to work for anyone globally.

Freelance Job Boards: Freelance job board websites post freelance web design jobs with the description of the project.

Networking: Go to meetings, fairs, and associations that relate to the industry and network to find potential freelance jobs.

Create a personal brand on social media: Showcase your expert work on your social media profiles and get conversions.

How to make a great proposal for potential clients?

In its simplest form, a powerful proposal is what a potential client needs when contacting a service provider. Here are some tips:

Tailor Your Proposal: It is imperative to understand the client’s business and develop the proposal with this in mind.

Highlight Your Value: Be specific about how your design skills will help them and how you can help solve their website issues.

Include a Clear Call to Action: This way, you help the client to accept your proposal by guiding them on the next steps to be taken.

Business Skills for Effectiveness and Efficiency 

Communication is Key: One should be clear to the clients and should be able to manage them well to have a good freelance experience. Pave the way for expectations, keep revisions on track, and keep the communication businesslike.

Protect Yourself and Your Clients: Employment of contracts is beneficial in that it helps both you and your clients limit their exposure by putting down on paper the nature of the work to be done, the period expected to be taken, and the amount to be paid. It is best to consult with a lawyer, however, some websites offer templates for simple freelance contracts.

Taxes- Maintaining order in the house: While working as a freelancer, it is your responsibility to manage your income and other expenses for the financial year. It is always wise to seek advice from a tax advisor to be in the right standing as a freelancer.

Targeting Small Businesses: This is an Opportunity 

Small businesses especially are challenged when it comes to identifying cheap web design services. This is your time to show your talents! The market segment can be easily targeted because of the specific services and prices that can be offered to the clients.

Develop small business packages with an emphasis on features necessary for their business to be online. Ensure that their needs and budget are well stated in your marketing materials to appeal to their needs. Again, there are a lot of people searching for affordable web design for small businesses hence, it is a very good market for freelance web designers.


A freelance web design career is often demanding, and it needs commitment, innovation, and appropriate business traits. That knowledge has been provided to you in this guide to help you get started in the right direction. Now is your chance to get up and do something!

Take advantage of the independence and opportunity of freelance work, and build your design dream job.