When you start off your career as a web designer, you may wonder if you are good enough to charge for your services.
Do you value your time? If your answer is yes, then you need to charge.
The two core reasons you are asking yourself if you should charge for web design are your ability and your mindset.
Your Web Design Ability
Can you deliver a site in 2-3 weeks?
Some projects may drag on longer than 2-3 weeks, especially if it’s your first client, or the client is an unknown and you don’t know what to expect from them.
If you feel with minimal back and forth you can complete a website in 2-3 weeks, that’s good enough.
You don’t need to complete a site in a day or two. You will likely encounter a couple of problems along the way and you need to have faith that you can handle those unexpected problems.
Will you manage it long-term?
Managing websites long-term can be great because it can result in recurring income.
At the same time, envision yourself a year from now and whether or not you want to be managing someone else’s website. If you just want to make a buck here and there, then managing a site long-term may not be the best choice.
What is your relative skill to the potential client?
You can’t compare your skill to every other web designer or freelancer out there. You have to look at your skill relative to the skill of the potential client.
A lot of my clients are home service contractors that lack strong computer skills, which makes it very easy for me to manage their websites. They never question my work whether it’s the design aspect or the code side of things. They always defer to my judgment.
In many ways, your skill level doesn’t matter. You just need to go after clients that are lower on the rung than you and aren’t looking to spend top dollar for a long-time expert. Most importantly, they need to have the willingness and ability to pay you.
WordPress plugins are your friend
When I was not as well versed with WordPress and dialed in with my process, I had many requests from clients that I was not sure I was able to accomplish. We ended up agreeing to a project and I figured out how to accomplish them through various WordPress plugins.
I thought that project requests would take me hours and hours of work. However, I was able to find a plugin after searching for about 15 minutes that ended up taking care of the function that I needed to put in place.
Plugins are definitely your friend if you are using WordPress as the platform to build your websites. If you are looking for the best WordPress plugins for 2019, I put together a comprehensive list.
You will never get “permission”
Everyone that gets into business is going to doubt themselves at the beginning. A lot of people look to get “permission” from someone and don’t feel they are good enough unless somebody validates their work.
You have to be the person to validate your own work and has the belief that you have a valuable skill to offer people. It will take time and working with a handful of clients to get a feel for them. If you can get over this need, then you will feel more confident in your skills and be more successful.
When I started I thought that every client was head and shoulders above me, smarter than me, and knew more about business than me. I felt very comfortable with the computer side, but felt like they would be judging my work. However, I came to realize they did not know what I was doing and they valued my work.
Your time is worth money
Once you work with a couple of good clients, you should be able to feel that your skills are valuable and your time is worth money, especially when you are solving someone else’s problem.
However, there are definitely circumstances when free work is OK.
You have to figure out whether it is a good long-term opportunity. Can you grow with another small business, or is it for something you believe in such as a non-profit or a friend? These can be great opportunities to learn how to work with somebody else and hone your skills.
With that in mind, don’t just take on any opportunity. If someone comes to you because they know you can build websites, and they pitch you randomly with a bad idea, it’s probably not worth your time.
Make sure any free opportunities you take on are decent and something you are interested in.
You must get over “impostor syndrome”
We all feel in one way or another the “impostor syndrome” where we fear we are going to be found out as a fraud. It’s impossible not to feel this since it’s a human thing that we all experience.
I think impostor syndrome can sometimes be worse in a job where you have one boss above you that is always looking and judging you.
When you are a freelancer building websites and you get to the point where you have multiple clients, your risk if diversified. If you have an issue with one client, it shouldn’t drastically affect your overall business.
I guarantee if you have 10 clients, 2 will be bad making you question yourself, but 2 will be great and you will build a strong relationship with that lasts long-term.
The latter subset of your client base is all that matters to move your business forward. Unfortunately, most people focus on negative ones.
The bottom line is that when it comes to business, activity is what wins. People fail in business because they overthink and don’t act. I have seen this with my own clients. I have to fight it in myself.
My “smarter” clients are not always as financially successful as the ones who do the core things that they need to do relentlessly to make money. The intelligent people waste time by thinking about every last step, even coming up with hypothetical problems which may never occur.
What To Do Next?
If you are still unsure of the entire process, I put together a membership where I offer my entire business plan.
I’ve turned it into 8 training modules with worksheets to keep you on track. All the modules have downloadable tools and templates to help you launch your own freelancing business.
If you have any questions as you go through the modules, there’s a private member forum where I respond to each inquiry and a “Q&A with Ray” video each month.