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You’ve just been accepted into the amazing world of web design. Your wife, family, and friends are congratulating you on a job well done, and your social media accounts are blowing up with delight.

From the day you sign up for your web design course, to the day you actually start earning a living from your work, you’ll be in awe of what you learn. You’ll grow from a complete beginner to an experienced designer in no time at all.

What you may not realize is that the journey to becoming a successful web designer isn’t as straightforward as you think. Far from it!

There are several different paths you can take to reach the top, and some require more effort than others. Before you get started, it’s important to understand how much effort you’re likely to need, and the kind of resources available to you on the way to the top.

The Low-Hanging Fruit

If you’ve been in web design for any length of time, you know that there are a variety of free hacks and shortcuts that can help you build your freelance business quickly. Don’t get me wrong—these tricks and shortcuts are absolutely useful and will get you to the top quite quickly. But you have to be aware that they come with a price.

You see, when you decide to build a profitable business around the idea of helping others with their website design projects, you’ll have to learn to walk before you can run. And, as a beginner, you’ll have to begin with some very basic website building. This means you’ll have to spend a lot of time honing your craft and gaining experience.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Since you’re a beginner in web design, you don’t yet have all the tools you need to build a professional site. And this is one of the biggest problems you’ll face along the way to success as a freelance web designer. If you want to become a reputable and profitable freelancer, you can’t just show up and start slapping together some basic sites. You’ll have to prove yourself to be a serious professional, and this takes some time.

The good news is that you have all the time in the world to do this. As a beginner, you won’t be overwhelmed with work. Indeed, you’ll have so much downtime that you’ll have to fight people to stay awake at night.

The bad news is that it won’t be easy. Despite all the tools you have at your disposal, building a business that generates well-designed websites is still very much a solo effort. You’re on your own. Nobody is going to do all the work for you.

Finally, the ugly news is that, for now, your only clients will be people you meet online. This isn’t exactly what you pictured when you decided to become a web designer, is it? While there are plenty of well-designed sites out there that serve as proof that what you’re doing is legitimate, you’re always going to be judged by your previous work. Which, at this point, is pretty much nothing. So, while you’re building your portfolio, you’ll have the opportunity to prove yourself to be a capable web designer. However, once you do start getting jobs, it’ll be time to look for ways to scale your business.

The Three Phases Of Building A Profitable Freelancing Business

To help you scale your business quickly, let me introduce you to the three stages you’ll need to pass through to reach the top.

  • Phase 1: Building The Basics
  • Phase 2: Scaling Up
  • Phase 3: Mastering The Craft

In phase one, you’ll start by collecting some basic website metrics. These are simple things like the number of visits to your site, the length of time people spend on your site, and your click-through rate (CTR). You’ll also want to set up blog posts around these metrics, so you can start building your online reputation. When people see you’re providing value and are interested in what you have to say, they’re more likely to click on your links and visit your site.

Phase two is where you start to grow your business. At this stage, you’ll want to establish yourself as an expert in your field. To do this, you’ll need to put in the time to really learn your craft. And, boy, are you ever going to need the time!

As a beginner, you’ll be overwhelmed with projects. At least, you’ll start out that way. But this is something you have to look forward to. As you establish yourself as an expert in your field, you’ll grow your client base quickly. And, as you start getting regular jobs, it’ll be time to put in the extra effort and hire some other staffers to help you manage your workload.

Phase three is where you start to specialize. As you establish yourself as an expert in your field, you’ll learn more and more about your specialty. And you’ll want to grow in your expertise. Just remember: you’re an expert in your field, so you’ll have a hard time getting jobs that aren’t related to your specialty. Even if you’re incredibly passionate about working with children and have an abundance of excellent references, you’ll still have trouble getting jobs in web design for adults, since you’re not a 100% expert in that area. Keep your specialty to yourself until you’re certain you can become the go-to person for your chosen field. This brings us to our next point.

Where Do I Want To Be In Five Years?

So you’ve decided to make the switch and become a freelance web designer. Congratulations! This is a decision that will change your life forever. But it’s also a decision that comes with some real responsibilities. And here’s the thing: you can’t just will yourself to success. You’ll actually have to work for it. But, fear not, you’re not alone. There are tons of people who are right behind you, cheering you on.

The responsibility you have is to yourself. To prove to yourself and to the world that you can do this. Your responsibility is to yourself, your family, and your friends. These are the people who believed in you when nobody else did. These are the people who are going to be behind you, cheering you on, and helping you succeed.

Forget about what other people think. What you think is important. What you feel is important. What you want is important. Your future is important. You have a responsibility to yourself to live your best life. And, with the help of your family and friends, and lots of hard work, that’s exactly what you’re going to do.