The 12 Quickest Ways To Get More Money As A Freelance Web Designer... Without "Problem Clients" And Without Learning Any New Coding Languages
And How To Put Your Clients On Retainer So You Can Have More Freedom And A Bigger Paycheck, At The Same Time
by Nathan Gilder
Since 2001, Nathan Gilder has created over 700 websites for clients across 28 different industries. On this page, briefly, are some of the ways he earns a significant income working part-time from home… and how you can do it, too.
Here’s the deal: if you’re a freelance web designer, and if you desire to be a financially-independent designer… then this article is something you absolutely must READ NOW.
Honestly, I can't tell you how long this will be online or how much longer it will be free to study… So pay close attention and take notes, as this may help you achieve the lifestyle you truly desire.
“Conventional Wisdom Is Almost Always Wrong”
You may think you've tried it all, or seen all, when it comes to earning money as a web designer.
Then, out of nowhere, you stumble upon something totally new... something that causes everything to just ‘click'...
That’s exactly how it was for me as I used these strategies to transform my own life. And I’m hoping to give you the very same “YES!” moments by sharing them with you now.
The Big Secret: It's All About Money
1. Clients Actually Don’t Care About Design
Don’t take any of your client’s requests at face value. All they really want are results. The moment you understand this and speak to that during your conversations, the more control you’ll have over the project and the smoother everything will go.
Know this: Your only job is to understand the desired results and commit to helping clients get those results using a website.
Their primary desire is usually for money (or camouflaged terms like “increased revenues”). Getting there can be accomplished through “more sales”, “more leads”, “more calls”, “more donations”, etc. I call these milestones to getting the money. And which milestone is preferred should direct the basic function of the homepage. Now let me put it another way…
2. Focus On Profits, Not Pixels
This idea is simple, yet has many implications. Essentially, the goal for every client is profit. And the goal for you must also be profit… if you wish to enjoy your work for very long.
For example, you don't need design awards or notoriety within the “design community” if you want to earn a great living. Your best clients won’t care about that stuff.
Something else: I recommend going for simple websites that communicate clearly to visitors. These pull an easy win for clients. They’re also much faster to build and easier to maintain. Starting with purchased templates or themes is fine for such purposes. However, even those can be more complicated than necessary.
Since taking on this mindset I’ve stopped stressing about the latest design fad (except responsive coding, ahem). My client’s are happy, my income has skyrocketed, and a lot of time has been freed up to enjoy other things in life. And have you considered…
3. The Website Is Your Client’s Most Important Online Asset
The website is the only thing we have full control over, relatively speaking. Social media accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… these are great for attracting attention and customers, yet the only property that’s truly OWNED is the website. It’s constant. It’s reliable.
Also, the website happens to be the most valuable online asset because it can automate marketing and sales. And it’s the ultimate online representation of brand.
So when the client goes wandering off into those other areas, you should calmly yet firmly bring the focus back to the website (this happens to be where you’ll make the most money). You’ll also find the work gets easier when you…
4. Commit To Being A Specialist
Specialists earn more money and get more respect. Be a website specialist. Don’t worry much about social media, it’s always changing. Don’t worry about designing logos, business cards, stationary and all that stuff. You won’t find thousand-dollar bills hiding under those rocks. Instead, just get intimate with the true purpose of the client’s website, especially the homepage.
Understand this: when you see a lot of opportunity, it’s important to “know when to say no”. My advice is to focus on the most valuable asset. Then simply give feedback on the client’s other activities, looking out for their best interest.
And when clients push non-website tasks onto your plate, just make referrals (and get a bonus or “finder’s fee” whenever possible). This gets the work done, lets you keep your specialist role, and helps you avoid overwhelm.
You Already Have What It Takes
To Succeed as a Web Designer
5. Rockstar Status and Skillz Are Not Required
With so many resources available, especially templates and themes, it’s simply not required that you personally become a “great designer” for clients. Yes, it’s nice for ego. However, many rockstar designers fall into a serious trap: thinking better pixels should equal a bigger paycheck. As described above, this is rarely the case anymore.
Yes, you’ll naturally get better at design the more you do it. Just don’t let your skill dictate how much money you earn… because there is not a direct correlation between “good design” and “good money”. You really can earn six-figures a year with the basics. This means…
6. You Only Need HTML/CSS To Earn A Great Living
The bedrock of web design is HTML/CSS. And getting familiar with these are all that’s necessary to experience a reliable income. Changing theme or template graphics may require an editing program like Photoshop. However, you typically won’t need to do anything complicated there, either. And let me emphasize this point by saying…
This is a biggie. It’s tempting to learn additional coding/programming languages. Yet, you should only do it when you really, really, really ENJOY it. Because it’s simply not required to be successful.
Here’s the truth: when you want big checks, you should feel 100% comfortable knowing these other topics are only distractions. Unless you enjoy them, they’re not worth the time and stress. And if a client requires something beyond HTML/CSS, there are plenty of people willing to help you.
One caveat: the only situation where learning additional coding languages might be good is for a job. Studios and other employers may care about that stuff. I’m not interested in your job. I want you to have freedom. And the next step is realizing…
8. Clients Who Need Your Help Are Everywhere
Even with all the web designers in the world, I never have trouble finding top-dollar clients. They’re literally everywhere. And because most designers are unreliable and don’t care about tangible results… it’s now even easier to gain clients.
Here’s another reason why: businesses with websites have already been sold on the idea. Yet, whoever did the site is usually long gone. The designer (or studio, even) didn’t stick around to make sure the website does what it’s supposed to do.
You just need to see if the client’s goals are being met effectively (hint: they usually aren’t). Then offer to help get more and better results.
How To Get The Money
Now that you know you should care about getting results for the client, specialize as a designer, and focus on HTML/CSS… here’s how you get more money…
9. Diagnose The Client’s Problem
Websites are supposed to help businesses. And the vast majority of websites are either underperforming or mostly useless.
When you know what to look for, it’s easy to approach nearly any business, large or small, and offer to see if their website is doing what it should.
Ask about their #1 goal. See if the homepage is meeting that goal directly. When it’s not…
10. Offer The Solution, Which Requires A Level Of Commitment
The best solution - for you and for them - is to optimize their homepage to meet their #1 goal.
Examples: Is the homepage confusing? Is it covered in stock photos? Are the words and phrases useful… selling the click, requesting contact information, asking for the first step toward a sale?
After knowing what you’re dealing with, offer a monthly commitment to improve the results of the website over time. Start with an overhaul, then make subtle changes on a monthly basis to improve the results. You can bill these services with a PayPal subscription.
If the prospect won’t commit to a monthly billing, offer to upgrade just their homepage to better serve its purpose. When they like the results, bring up the monthly commitment again. And by the way…
11. Get Paid Up Front, Before Doing Any Work
This should go without saying. However, because we’re so eager to help clients, it’s tempting to dig into code for free just to “take a look under the hood”. Don’t do it.
All you need to do is:
1) Type in the URL
2) Hit enter
3) See what pops up
When you see the website can be improved, ask for money to get involved. Anything beyond this 3-step evaluation is time and energy wasted. There doesn’t need to be paperwork. There doesn’t need to be a long, drawn out process with multiple solutions and services offered.
Get this: when you finally have confidence in your abilities and a true understanding of how valuable your work is… even a portfolio is unnecessary. (I stopped “showing my work” back in 2007!). Now…
12. Get Mentoring
The best and fastest way to accomplish a HUGE jump in your business is to get a mentor - someone who cares about your success and is willing to give you advice based on real-world experience. And because you're a web designer...
Here’s What To Do Next
Listen, my advice and these strategies can really improve your income and lifestyle as a web designer.
Yet, you still need to find prospects. You need to make sales. And you need to help clients meet their goals.
When you have HTML/CSS skills… and when you truly desire to serve your clients… and when you desire to quickly boost your income, without stressful, time-wasting activities like cold calling or face-to-face meetings…
It’s time you get on a better path.
To begin, you can reach me personally by entering your contact information in the short form below.
Just enter your name and best email address, then click the orange “NEXT STEP!” button. You’ll be automatically directed to a scheduling page for your free Strategy Session.
During your free consultation we’ll talk about your goals, your current business and your potential. We’ll uncover your shortest path to an enjoyable, stress-free life as a web designer.
It’s simple. And your call may last an hour or longer because I’m committed to helping you.
Here’s the next step:
Request Your Free Strategy Session
Begin requesting your consultation. On the next page you’ll schedule a time to speak with Nathan by phone or Skype.
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