This chapter is a continuation of Job Hunting chapter.
Becoming a freelancer is a way to work at home and be independent without needing to start an actual business. As a general rule, so long as you operate under your own name you do not need to register as a business. This makes it possible to get started as a freelancer overnight without a lot of hassle and with the least amount of expense but… if your goal is to create a company, in Florida State you must get an Occupational License in County offices and to register your “Fictitious Name” in Florida Department State Website.
According to Salary.com, the median annual Web Designer salary is $71,301, as of August 29, 2016, with a range usually between $61,017–$81,509, however this can vary “widely” depending on a variety of factors.
Having learned to code and design, you can take a place for yourself as a freelancer or in a home business and although it’s easier than ever to build a website from templates and content management platforms, it hasn’t reduced the need for web designers but specially the need for web developers like you.
Web Designer Job Description
Designs and constructs web pages/sites including incorporating graphic user interface (GUI) features and other techniques. Maintains and provides ongoing design of the website, promos and ad banners, seasonal content specials and custom chat launcher design for partners. May require a bachelor’s degree in a related area and 2-4 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on limited experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Works under general supervision; typically reports to a manager. A certain degree of creativity and latitude is required. View full job description
Pros of Starting a Web Design Business
- Can easily be done from home.
- No specific educational requirements are needed, although certifications and training can increase your marketability.
- The Internet is here to stay, so the need for designers isn’t going to disappear. Computer-related occupations, which lend themselves well to being work at home jobs and businesses, are expected to mushroom by up to 37% through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- You can be creative every day.
- It pays well.
- You can easily expand the business into other areas, such as SEO, copywriting, web site maintenance, and other website related services.
Cons of Starting a Web Design Business
- The web is constantly evolving; you’ll need to stay current on coding and software.
- There’s a lot of competition.
- Newer, easier to use systems means many would-be clients are trying to create their own websites.
- You’re at your computer all day.
What You Need to Start a Web Design Businesses
- A home office that is quiet and free from distractions
- Hardware, including a computer, quality monitor, scanner, printer and digital camera
- Software for graphics, photos and video, which may be free or cost hundreds of dollars
- A high-speed Internet connection and perhaps server space for site hosting and testing
- A menu of the services you’ll provide and what you’ll charge for them.
- A contract that outlines all the policies of how you work.
- A business plan, outlining your services, target market, and financial goals.
- A marketing plan that includes your target market and how you plan to reach it.
- A website of your own that not only represents your skills, but offers a place to showcase your portfolio of work
- Marketing materials such as business cards and brochures.
- A strong network to access for possible referrals. This network can include people you’ve designed for before, but also other professionals that work with businesses that can use designers. For example, you should have a network of copywriters, graphic designers and others involved in developing websites. It’s possible you’ll have a client that wants a website, but doesn’t already have text and graphics. With your network, you have other businesses you can refer your client to, as well as the other businesses can refer their clients back to you for web design.
Once you have your business set up, the challenge will be to find that first client. There are many ways to find clients, including using your network. Be sure to gather testimonials and develop a program for getting referrals, as getting repeat and referral customers is the cheapest and most effective way to build your web design business.
But… there are some other options… are those for you?
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