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Being a freelance web designer

I’ve been asked this question so many times in the last couple of months that I thought I would write a short blog post on it. That question was: “What is it like being a freelance web designer?” I am not sure what the right or wrong answer is to this, but I’ll give it a bash and try to be honest.

In short, it’s the best thing I have ever done. I was working for a company and I decided to take the plunge into running my own business. It was a really big decision, but in my heart I knew it was the best move for me.

At first, I had to rely on agencies and friends to pass me out work whilst my SEO picked up and I started getting some word of mouth traffic. I started to try to naturally bump my SEO rankings up for things like ‘Freelance Web Design’ or ‘Web Design London’, and yes, it helped massively as these terms started to bring in traffic.

The most important thing you have to remember when you’re a freelance web designer, is that you’re not just a web designer. You have to be so much more than that. Account manager, copy editor, image manipulator, WordPress teacher and more. You have to help your clients to get what they want. It’s no longer about just clocking in and clocking out, writing code and being happy with that. Code becomes equal partner to customer service, and I think that is where most new freelance web designers fall down. They don’t realise the hard work that goes into managing clients.

You have to now be able to deliver not only code, but solutions. You can’t expect a client to come to you for code only, they want to be taken care of. They want someone to listed to their ideas and give them advice. They need an online business advisor. In this day and age, you can’t let your client get away with having a non responsive web design. You have to do your best by them, explain why they need to have it responsive. I have started to now include RWD as a part of my quote that can not be removed or altered, I see it as that important.

So, I know this was a bit of a ramble, but it should give a brief insight into how I see the role of a freelance web designer in the area today. It isn’t about being a great coder, that is a part of it, but you have to get over yourself on that front. Be an exceptional account manager who can code brilliantly and you’ll have a great business for years to come.