Can You Make Decent Money as a Freelance Web Designer in 2020?

  1. The Opportunity
  2. Theory vs. Practice
    1. More time planning
  3. Choose Better Clients
  4. Burnout & Bankruptcy
  5. Next Steps

The web design industry started over 25 years ago and I have been fortunate to observe its growth from birth, to the point today where it generates billions of dollars of revenue and employs hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It’s relatively inexpensive to start a web design business which has led to massive competition and low prices. The nature of the work requires a lot of labour, which can make it difficult to scale. So is it still possible to make decent money as a freelance web designer in 2020?

Make decent money as a freelance web designer in 2020/ #Freelancer #WebDesigner #WebDeveloper

Thinking of starting or rebooting a web design business? Watch a replay of a workshop that I hosted that explains what it takes to earn $4000 a month as a part-time web designer.

The Opportunity

The calculator suggests that it is indeed possible to make good money in web design. Let’s say you complete 10 projects a year at an average price of $3000 per website. That’s $30,000. On top of that, you have 12 recurring revenue clients that on average pay you $125 a month each. That’s $1500 a month or $18,000 a year. In total, you’re looking at $48,000 a year which is pretty decent, especially considering the relatively low overheads that come from working at home.

Also, you can check the best recurring billing software to automate your subscription billing system to grow your business across the world. It is really worth mentioning an effective platform for growth-focused businesses called Pabbly. It is also perfect for online form building, email marketing, and email list cleaning. You will be provided with instant access to:

  • Pabbly Forms;
  • Pabbly Emails;
  • Pabbly Subscriptions;
  • Pabbly List Cleaning.

This cloud-based accounting solution meets the needs of both midsize and small businesses. It allows managing the following subscription billing tasks as:

  • creating and sending invoices;
  • accepting different types of payments (one-time and recurring ones);
  • recovering failed transactions and payments.

Together with this recurring billing software, you are free to create various subscriptions and plans. In addition to this, you can choose a few payment gateways. Actually, it supports multiple payment methods and currencies. People can opt for such variants as credit cards, ACH, and many others. If you are interested in testing your transaction process, Pabbly will allow you to do this. There is a Test functionality that makes it possible to check how everything works.

It is possible to integrate this tool into your existing websites and apps without any effort. Furthermore, there is one more instrument included in the subscription. I am talking about Sales Analytics. What is this feature capable of? It provides users with crucial data about:

  • refund;
  • canceled subscriptions;
  • total sales.

In general, you are not limited by the number of products, coupons, customers, and promo-codes.

As you can understand, Pabbly can become your reliable assistant and help to develop your important business strategies.

Theory vs. Practice

That sounds good in theory, but does this stand up in practice? Can you charge $3000 for a website? Can you get through 10 of these a year and how do you get recurring revenue clients? Let’s tackle each of these questions.

The biggest freelancer mistake is undercharging. Sure, when you’re starting out you need to get some results at any price. But once you’ve built a couple of sites, you need to price your projects appropriately. Selling is really about educating your prospect. In the case of web design, it’s your job to teach prospects about the importance of having an effective website. The right website will generate more leads, more sales and possibly improve business processes. That turns the conversation from what a website costs, to what a website can earn. For the right sort of business, $3000 is a small investment, especially when compared to other marketing channels.

More time planning

For some web designers, getting work isn’t the problem. The problem is getting through the work. This is another reason why it’s important not to undercharge, so you have more time to spend with fewer clients. The key to getting websites launched on time and within budget is to spend more time planning at the start. If you don’t, you run the risk of scope creep and spending more hours on the project than you had planned. This is especially dangerous when you are paying team members by the hour.

Speak to any established freelancer and they’ll tell you that one of the hardest things to cope with is the fortune to famine cycle. One month I thought I was a genius when I invoiced $20,000. But the next month my earnings were just $600. It’s vital that a good amount of your income is derived from recurring revenue. This gives your business stability and it adds significant value. One day you’ll want to sell your business and the more recurring revenue clients you have, the more the business is worth. Services you can provide include website updates, website backups, CMS updates, support/training, email marketing, social media marketing and SEO.

Watch the Webinar

Choose Better Clients

The key to charging more is to choose better clients. Yes, you have control over who you decide to work with, not the other way around. You can’t be too choosey at first, but once you establish a system for gathering leads, you’ll eventually get too many inquiries, so you can afford to choose the best clients with the best projects. Better clients are also more likely to buy your recurring revenue services.

Burnout & Bankruptcy

Many freelancers remain operating as a sole trader, but this is a dangerous path. The result is long hours, few holidays and no support, leading to burnout and/or bankruptcy. A business going sideways is a business going backwards, so it’s vital that you plan for growth right from the start. The keys to making all of this work are:
  • Build your network - connect with as many business owners as possible in your local area.
  • Raise your prices - get out of the $500 website rut as quickly as possible and continue to raise your prices as you learn to build better websites.
  • Build your team - you can’t successfully do it on your own forever, so you need to add team members to give your business leverage and value.
  • Work on your business - not just in your business. Continually invest in yourself by getting trained on how to build a successful web design business.

Watch the Webinar

website themes

Next Steps

If you’re thinking of starting a web design business, or if you’ve already begun, but need some direction, start by watching my workshop replay video at the top of this page. This explains in more detail what it takes to earn $4000 a month as a part-time web designer. This will help answer the question “should I do this?”

At the end of the workshop, I have a free offer for TemplateMonster customers. Let me help you answer the next question: “can I do this?” with the aid of my video course Create Your Web Design Business Plan.

Enroll in course

This course teaches you the five factors that determine the profitability of any business. Once you understand this, you can create a unique business plan that when followed, ensures your business is one of the few that starts strong, continues to grow and one day can be sold.

The final question is “how do I do this?” Sure, it’s important to know how to build websites, but it’s far more important to learn how to build a successful business by following a proven system. There are plenty of people available to help you build websites, but only you can drive the success of your business and that starts with a commitment to work on your business every week. Feel free to get in contact to learn how I can help you grow your web design business to six figures and beyond.

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Richard Pearce

As a freelancer and designer, I know lots of stuff about this type of work and can also give lots of useful tips about website building. LinkedIn

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