The main attraction of working a freelance web designer is that it offers you two types of freedom that most other 9 to 5 job can’t offer:
- Location freedom: Freedom to work from wherever you want.
- Time freedom: Freedom to work whenever you want.
At a first glance, working as a freelance web designer may sound perfect. However, as with most things in this world, there is also another side of the coin. You’ll need to find the right jobs that suit your skills, pitch the clients with nice proposals and build a solid portfolio online. Obviously, there’s a lot to do.
One of the first things you’ll need to be doing as a freelance web designer is to find the right web design jobs that suit your skill set. If you are just getting started as a freelance web designer finding the right web design jobs can be a tedious task. And in most cases, finding the right jobs and pitching the employers will be a non-billable task. So in the long run, you’ll need to look at building a solid portfolio and getting referrals from your most satisfied customers.
In this post, let’s take a look at a few places where you can find the right freelance web design jobs that match your skill sets.
Top Tip: you'll find plenty of the top web design blogs offer a jobs section, or a jobs section in their forums. Have a look at our full list of 101 web design blogs you need to follow so that you can identify the top blogs which have a section where freelancers can pitch their services or maybe get in touch with potential clients. We've also created a file which you can add to your RSS reader to get access to all of the blogs at once!
2nd top tip: As a freelancer you'll find that you are not the person going after a specific job - especially if you are competing in popular marketplaces. That's why rather than trying to pitch for everything, you need to specialize in a specific niche. Find something you are passionate about, and carve yourself a spot, and become one of the best providers in that niche.
For example, if you work with WordPress, you may want to specialize in eCommerce, maybe you can understand which works best when implementing WooCommerce vs Shopify for your client base in particular. Heck, you could even keep on niching and just focus on building websites for service providers who take bookings via WooCommerce. This allows you to be able to get much more focused testimonials, have a specific expertise, and know a specific niche, inside out, increasing your chances of closing specific deals. Even in terms of SEO, it is much easier to rank in a specific niche, than to rank for broader niches.
Another niche you could focus in, and something for which there is ALWAYS demand, is increasing the speed of websites. You'll find that plenty of people don't understand the value of a fast loading website. You'll also find that the majority of websites out there need some optimization or other to make them load faster. This is both a broad niche and a specialization which can work for you.
When it comes to building your career as a freelance web designer, Toptal stands out from the rest of the platforms. Toptal features the top 3% of talents around the world. It is an exclusive network of top talented web designers and engineers.
If you’re a freelancer with plenty of experiences in web designing, you should definitely consider creating a profile and building a portfolio on Toptal. With that said, not everyone who applies to join as a web designer will be accepted as a freelancer on Toptal. Toptal conducts a rigorous screening process to identify the best applicants and typically fewer than 3% of applications are get accepted.
Best of all, you don’t have to spend any time finding clients, billing them, etc. as you will be contacted by clients from the website where you create your profile. That means if you’re accepted as a Toptal applicant, 100% of your working hours are billable.
The next on our list are bidding sites - where you bid against other freelancers and compete for work by submitting what you think is the best price.
Building a web designer portfolio on a freelance bidding site is one of the best and probably the easiest ways to get started with freelancing business. Let’s look at a couple of freelancing bidding sites below.
Upwork is a brand new freelancing bidding site launched by combining two popular platforms Elance and Odesk. All you need to do is to create an account on Upwork, complete your freelancer profile, bid on jobs that fit your skill set with an appropriate proposal.
Given that we've just discussed both Toptal and Upwork, you may want to have a look at this article, to understand the difference between them.
Freelancer.com claims that they’re the world’s largest outsourcing platform. Aside from bidding on the listed web design jobs, you can also find contests on Freelancer.com where you can compete with other web designers by submitting your work. Contests are a win-win situation for both you and the employers. Employers get lots of different submissions to review whereas as a designer, you’ll be rewarded if your work is accepted.
Next on our list are services marketplaces.
Needless to say, in the early days as a freelancer web designer, finding the right web design jobs is one of the most tedious tasks you’ll need to work on. No matter how talented designer you’re, unless you’re good at hunting down potential clients who can afford you, less likely you’ll succeed as a freelancer.
And most importantly, when getting started you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time for non-billable activities like finding the right jobs, pitching them with the right proposals, etc. This is where services marketplaces come in.
Services marketplace is comparatively a new idea in the freelancing business. With services marketplaces, you don’t need to worry about hunting down clients who could afford you with the price you’re worth. All you need to do is to list your services on the marketplace. Once a potential client finds your listing, he can order the service right from your listing. It’s that simple!
Below are a few services marketplaces in which you can list your web designing services.
Envato Studio is a services marketplace, which is a part of the popular Envato network that comprises the popular template marketplace Themeforest.net. As a web designer, you can list your web designing services in different sub-categories such as website design, landing page design, web components design, PSD to HTML, etc. In Envato Studio, the minimum pay is $50. All you need to do is to list your services on the site, so your potential clients can view your service and order it with ease.
Fiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for small services. You can find various web design related categories on Fiverr in which you can list your own services for a price starting from $5. If you’re looking to earn some quick bucks by working on small web design jobs as a freelancer, Fiverr might be the right choice for you.
The final way to find freelancing website design work is using bob boards.
Another way to find freelance web designing jobs is by looking at various job boards. As a freelance web designer, all you need to do is to find the job that matches your skill set and write a proposal and submit it to the employer for review.
Below are a few job boards where you can easily find web designing jobs.
Smashing jobs is integrated with the award-winning Smashing Magazine blog where you can find the right web design jobs that suits your skill set.
As a web designer, you may already know about Dribbble. It is an online community where you can showcase your talent. It has also featured employers from some of the biggest brands such as Facebook, Microsoft and Tumblr, etc.
Behance is an online community where you can showcase and discover creative works including web design works. Behance JobList is a part of the Behance site that even allows you to find opportunities within some of the top global brands, including Google, Facebook, Sony and others. You can search via company or category to help refine and narrow your results.
Are there other places which you believe are ideal for finding web design jobs online? We'd love to hear from you.