March 9, 2010 1

Finding Well Paid Work for Web Designers

By in Web Design

In my last post, I talked about a method of marketing many web designers, including myself, like to use: freebie marketing. It is an excellent method for marketing and gaining momentum for your work, but when it comes down to it — every designer still needs to get paid.

Marketing oneself is a task in itself, but when finally finding out where the jobs are, and even when jobs come to the designer, a whole new problem arises: is it still well or decently paid work? In this post we’ll go beyond marketing, and go into how to sort out the good from the bad job offers, and then furthermore, how to market oneself to get higher paying, well-deserved jobs.

1. Approach Only Serious Clients

Potential clients that take their business seriously, take a budget seriously too. They understand a quality website will take a quality designer, and a quality budget. Find clients and job postings that look professional. Find companies that seem to have a solid business plan, and whether it is a solo entrepreneur or a group of individuals within a company, make sure that company knows where it’s going, having goals, plans, and a future. Find a company or client to hire you that is serious about their own business, and they’ll be serious about yours.

I once had a client email me, letting me know they love my work, and that they needed a website. They needed full design and development, with a custom backend. Being a programmer by heart, it was a dream project, and I quickly responded with a quick overview of my rates and how I worked. However, in response to my rates, the client responded with something along the lines of, “Isn’t that a bit much? I’m just a college kid with an idea in my head…I can’t afford that sort of budget, and I just want to see my idea come to life.”

Needless to say, with my response I told him my price was quite fair, and to come back when he did have the budget available. He could also come back when he had the dedication available, but of course I didn’t go as far to say that! The point of the matter is, despite my fair rates, he did not want to dedicate a decent budget to a project he wasn’t fully committed to himself.

2. Avoid Bidding Sites

Websites like oDesk, FindaFreelancer, and more can all be great for getting a few portfolio pieces, but when a website is set up to constantly degrade the price of our type of work, it is impossible to make a living from these types of projects. I see well deserving $2000 projects on these sites go for $50-$75, and to beginners who probably don’t do much of a good job anyway.

Avoid these types of websites, and when needing to actively apply for jobs, find quality job boards. Also, try to find local jobs as well. Much of the time there are decent  jobs available among friends, colleagues, and on local job sites, all of which are looking for a local professional more than anything.

3. Hire a Marketing Professional

Many freelancers, once they become more financially stable, will hire a marketing professional to handle finding clients and building their name for them. Working with a marketing expert can put off many freelance designers, (we like to work alone and do things our way, right?) but after all, a marketing expert knows what they do best. Even for small design firms, too, a separate marketing agency has its benefits.

Look for a marketing agency, or even a freelance marketing expert, and ask about what they can do for your design business. Whether freelancing or firm, if you need more marketing then you’re running a business too, and a good marketing plan and a marketing professional can do wonders in finding your business more quality work.

About: Kayla Knight:
Hello, my name is Kayla Knight, and I am a web designer and developer based in Iowa, Usa. I focus on user-centric, beautiful, simple, and functional web design. You can check out my portfolio here:

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One Response to “Finding Well Paid Work for Web Designers”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for this great and interesting article. Very good points.