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I'm new here. I've been browsing tons of forums for an idea of what to do. I was laid off from my job about 3 month ago. I've been looking for a job since then, but did not even get a single interview. I worked as a web designer for a publishing company for the last 5 years. Looks like www.pacersdigest.com is an active forum with active members and may be someone has some experience working as a freelance web designer. May be "New Members" category is not the most appropriate for this question, but I want to try anyways to get some opinions before I go ahead with my life. I'm wondering if it is possible in the current economy to find work for a freelance web designer and make enough to pay for rent and groceries. I was able to find a small project on craigslist and I developed a website for a company. It was a small project and took me only a week to complete. I got paid $800 for 1 week of work which is not bad. Please people give me some ideas. I have 2 kids and my wife is out of work as well. Thank you in advance.
Yes, it is possible to make decent money as a freelance webdesigner, but you'd have to have a very good portfolio in order to convince clients of your expertise. You probrably won't find many large or mid-sized companies willing to contract with you. Most either already have their own IT staff or would rather consult w/you and then still use their own "in-house" personnel to do the work even if it's someone who dabbled in webpage design. Keep in mind that "off-the-shelf cookie cutter" software applications like MS Publisher make it easy for the do-it-yourselfers to create webpages. The trick is to design the site that the customer wants AND maintain it. Keyword here: maintenance!
Just about anyone can build a website; not many can do the maintenance. People tend to think once you build it (the website) all you need do is leave it alone, but ask Hicks and he'll tell you that's really not the case. Still, you'd also be competing with template web hosting companies, such as GoDaddy.com, and the like. But if you can find the right clientale, you could make money doing it. Maybe not as much now as say 5-10 yrs ago, but there's still money to be had even in today's economy.
My advice: Try marketing yourself to small business owners. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and City Hall to find those small business with new business licenses or those who recently renewed their licenses and contact as many of them as you can. Take your portfolio w/laptop and CD of your work in-hand. You're gonna need it! Market yourself!! And deliver what you promise on time making sure you've prepared the proper legal documents to protect yourself and your client(s) even as a consultant.
If you're going to go the freelance route, I'd suggest taking something even if it's not quite the kind of pay rate you would like to receive - especially with small/medium-sized businesses, word of mouth is key and if you impress a client with a lot of friends who may need web work, you will get more work out of a contract that may not have seemed to be worth it up front.