Freelance web design can be a very lucrative career if planned and executed properly. Hopefully, before quitting one’s day job and moving to Aspen, an aspiring web designer will research the freelance market and have some sort of a business plan. One of the first things to consider when beginning a freelance career as a web designer and/or graphic designer, is your target audience.
Many young, aspiring freelance web designers and graphic designers are very passionate about their work, they have to be! In essence, they are ready to tackle any new obstacle or client that comes to them, whether it is an E-Commerce website, Brochure Designs, CSS/HTML websites, Community based websites, websites using CMS software, or anything else. Most web designers also consider themselves renaissance designers, meaning that they can design for any industry website: A Local business website, artist’s website, musician’s website, professional website of many others. But, this is one of the main problems that freelance web designers face when starting out their freelance career and attempting to make a name for themselves.
While a great design is universal, and anyone from any industry can recognize that, if you mainly designed musician’s, artists and E-Commerce websites, and you are outsourced by a Lawyer who would like a nice professional representation online, what kind of example are you going to show him? He might appreciate your quality design, but if there’s another web designer who specializes in his industry and has examples to prove it, he will most likely feel more comfortable choosing the specialist. This is just one example of the downfalls of not focusing in on a niche industry, there are many more including lack of knowledge in particular industries, quality of work due to experience with specific designs, longer schedule because you’re less familiar with the type of web design it is.
Most web designers think they will gain more clients by advertising their skills to everyone in any industry. While you should be capable of designing for every industry, developing a professional niche industry will ensure you survival and success as a freelance web designer.
Here’s how to choose a niche industry for your freelance web design business:
1. Research your location, and what industries flourish, what industries there are a lot of, what industries do well, what industries don’t do so well. If you’re in Aspen, Colorado let’s say, don’t focus in on the Bathing Suit store industry. Also, don’t jump head first into thinking you will conquer the Ski resort industry either. Choose another niche industry that makes sense for your area and has potential to keep you busy for a while.
2. Once you’ve decided on your freelalance web design niche, you should dive head first into this industry learning as much as you can and meeting as many professionals as possible. Go to conferences, get to know the type of people who might need your services, their personalities, their knowledge when it comes to technology and web design.
3. Contact professionals in these industries. Say there are a lot of Lawyers in your area, small law firms and large firms. Send them all a nice introduction letter and a business card. Have an online portfolio prepared and make sure the link is on your card. If you have time, it might even be beneficial to simply give them a free written website consultation. Discussing what you think would be great for their firm, your ideas to improve the current look of their site (if they have one,) etc. Another way to get your foot in the door is to find smaller but thriving businesses within your niche, that either don’t have a website or have an awful website and design one for them. Show them your work and tell them about your services.
Once you’ve worked hard making a name for yourself as a freelance web designer in a particular niche, the job opportunities will come rolling in! Plus, the website design opportunities will slowly become easier and be finished quicker as you will accumulate templates and ideas and be able to mentally plan your site more efficiently.
If you make an incredible website for so-and-so Lawyer, his other lawyer friend compliments it, he gives him your number. This is the benefit of focusing on a particular industry as a freelance web designer. You will be the head honcho of your niche!