Senior Web Designer: how to make more money?

30 replies
Hi everyone,
The question is quite simple. I'm a freelance senior web designer (33 years old) with years of experience.

I can make sites from scratch (from the concept to .psd, html/css and a bit of php), I'm pretty good at visual design, photo editing, copywrighting (not in english), SEO, adwords, facebook ads, web marketing, logo design, wordpress, e-commerce.

I've (almost) always worked for small to medium businesses.

I can sell myself to my clients by direct contact, or I get contacted by my website or word of mouth.

I have 2 dozens of clients for whom I offer the before mentioned services.
I make money mainly from web design and adwords.

I'm not earning enough.
Small companies (normally) want to spend 1000/1500€ for a website, and someting like 500/1000€ yearly for adwords.

This is not enough for me to live peacefully.

Any tips in how to increase my income?
Thanks in advance
#designer #make #money #senior #web
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Originally Posted by Luke111 View Post

    I can make sites from scratch (from the concept to .psd, html/css and a bit of php), I'm pretty good at visual design, photo editing, copywrighting (not in english), SEO, adwords, facebook ads, web marketing, logo design, wordpress, e-commerce.
    ...
    Any tips in how to increase my income?
    Have you considered designing websites for yourself, putting affiliate links on them, and driving traffic through SEO, Adwords, or FB?

    Not every website built has to be for someone else.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      Nice suggestion. What kind of website?
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  • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
    Besides building the web-site. Get a sellers account and sell them monthly hosting. Get them to purchase the domain from you, or your affiliate link. Also charge them maintenance and updates to the website. If they are coming to you they should pay more, since you have a good repetition.
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      I already do. The problem is, here there are a LOT of small companies, often family runt, and freelancers. Their budget is not that big. I make almost all my clients use my hosting services (billed annually). I can't ask too much.

      I started thinking about increase my prices and see which clients can afford this, and in case get new ones. I'm thinking about taking a freelance broker and make him sell my services for a percentage, with the hope of finding customers who can afford higher fees.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by Luke111 View Post

    I'm not earning enough.
    Small companies (normally) want to spend 1000/1500€ for a website, and someting like 500/1000€ yearly for adwords. This is not enough for me to live peacefully.

    It's simple . . . target a different audience. Don't go after the small business mom & pop crowd. Do your market research and find a more affluent targeted population - they are out there. Identify them and go after them!

    You said:
    "I've (almost) always worked for small to medium businesses. I can sell myself to my clients by direct contact, or I get contacted by my website or word of mouth."
    Your online research should point you to businesses and individuals that expect to pay well for a great web site. If you can sell to one group - you can sell to a different group.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke111
    I like a lot to work for someone who operates in a small market niche.
    Like an antique dealer which sells indian products, for example. Or someone who offer courses of survival.
    Things like this, because I can use my SEO experience to add a real value to my websites... being fields with few competitors, I can place them well on the SERPs.

    This is the type of client I would like to target... but that's not really a niche by itself. I mean, it's not like the niche of pool installators, for example. It's more like a "meta-niche".
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Originally Posted by Luke111 View Post

      It's more like a "meta-niche".

      No, there is no such thing as a meta niche.

      All the clients you go after don't have to be in the same niche - that's foolish when the product you are offering could be valuable in many different niches.

      Just pick out (through market research so you can verify results) the niches you want to focus on for your web building and go after them - they don't have to be related at all. You can use the same basic marketing campaigns . . . simply tailor them (customize them) to the particular niche you're going after in your current campaign.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke111
    It's simple . . . target a different audience. Don't go after the small business mom & pop crowd.
    I think you are right. There is not much sense in seeking money where they are not.
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  • Profile picture of the author mohdbd
    Nowadays most of the people are looking freelancer to solve their problems. I am sure if you are really expert & know how to how to do Web Design, you will be able to earn a good amount of money from various Freelancing site. Of course you have to pay a fee of the Freelancing site. It may differ from site to site. Thanks for your advance.
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      I don't like freelancing sites that much. I prefer to work with clients that speak my own language, and in my country the freelancing sites/portals are like a lottery, and you even get paid very low.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve L
    Originally Posted by Luke111 View Post

    Hi everyone,
    The question is quite simple. I'm a freelance senior web designer (33 years old) with years of experience.

    I can make sites from scratch (from the concept to .psd, html/css and a bit of php), I'm pretty good at visual design, photo editing, copywrighting (not in english), SEO, adwords, facebook ads, web marketing, logo design, wordpress, e-commerce.

    I've (almost) always worked for small to medium businesses.

    I can sell myself to my clients by direct contact, or I get contacted by my website or word of mouth.

    I have 2 dozens of clients for whom I offer the before mentioned services.
    I make money mainly from web design and adwords.

    I'm not earning enough.
    Small companies (normally) want to spend 1000/1500€ for a website, and someting like 500/1000€ yearly for adwords.

    This is not enough for me to live peacefully.

    Any tips in how to increase my income?
    Thanks in advance
    Are you good at creating responsive web design?
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      Yes.
      I even tried front-end app development or UX/UI design, as you want to call it. Did just a single app, It was like a test for me. The server/"real code" developers liked the interface.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    You mentioned copywriting skill, although not in English. That, and some of your phrasing suggests that you are not in the USA.

    So you may not know the story of Willie Sutton. Sutton was a famous bank robber. When finally caught, he was supposedly asked why he chose to rob banks. His answer?

    "Because that's where the money is."

    Seems you have a choice to make here.

    Either continue to serve the niches you are most comfortable in, or work with clients with the budget to pay the fees you want to earn. You can't have it both ways.

    There's a thread in the copywriting forum about the fee schedule a top-end copywriter published in his book. Many people questioned whether anyone could actually get fees that high.

    One of the "tricks" he uses is working for major corporations. Do you think companies like Sylvania, 3M, etc. would flinch at paying $10k for a white paper or web page?

    I, too, have a soft spot for the small, mom-and-pop businesses. But, as you have figured out, they just don't have the budgets to pay the fees I look for.

    Mark mentioned creating sites of your own. If your skills truly are what you say they are, you can create courses or coaching programs to teach the small businesses you like to serve how to help themselves. While they may not be able to pay for your full services, they may be able to pay a smaller retainer for access to expert advice/help when they need it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      The part about teaching the small businesses how to help themselves sounds like a nice idea.

      To be honest, I have not got the robber thing however.

      No, I'm not in the US nor in UK.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mapperkids Lee
    I would suggest try get more of small clients to make up the money what you are looking for, I don't think any big / medium size company will risk their money on a one man band developer (no matter how good you think you are), they won't take that risk, big company will just deal with big web design company period. Unless you has some connection with someone in those company.
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      I have many other freelancers that can cover the fields I'm not expert with (photography, video, server-side programming, etc).

      Also, I've worked in a big company where there were like 10 brokers and 1 only web designer.

      I don't think that is the real problem, especially for medium-size businesses.

      My country has his backbone in small-medium sized businesses. For us a "small" company is 2-3 people, a medium one is like 10-15.
      This is what I mean when I talk about medium one.

      I can understand that for an American this is strange, but this is how things works here.

      Never had a problem of trust with medium-sized.
      I agree I can have a problem with really big projects, but I'm not interested in those.
      I'm interested in someone which can spend a decent amount of money in something that actually works.

      No, I don't want others low paid jobs. Can't work good nor survive like that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alangile
    You need to take a lot of orders.
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke111
      Why not better paying customers who have the resources to invest in something that generates conversions?

      Very small businesses (mom & pop as you call them) don't have the money to invest in something that really works.

      I don't understand why I should be in the same market of kids and principiants.

      Also, talking to clients needs time. I would say it's the 60% of my work, at least.
      More small clients = more time wasted.

      No, the right solution is Steve's one.

      I'll try to switch to medium-sized.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex July
    Well, since you've come to Internet marketing community, you should expect a bit different advice.
    If you are a SENIOR web developer, it means that you have a big deal of experience. So why not to share your experience instead of using it?
    Yes, you can build a website, but why not to change your focus to teaching how to build a website?
    You can create a standalone blog on web development and share knowledge. Offering your services is not necessary. Instead, you can sell other people's stuff like web hosting, SEO services and so on.

    Even if you are a very qualified web developer, I believe, you agree that it's ridiculously difficult to make over $10k designing websites. From the other hand, teaching how to create websites might be even more profitable.

    But it's not only about being a web developer, it is about being a passionate teacher and knowing how to properly promote your media.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke111
    I don't want to sell my knowledge right now. This is a thing I could do when I'll chose to change business at the end of my career. I'll think about it in the future, however.

    You gave all gave me a lot of advices, and I thank you all for that.

    I'll choose to focus more on medium sized businesses rather than small ones.

    Making a website for myself, like a kind of small social network for something very specific could be another solution. I thought about it recently.

    Thank you all.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex July
      Originally Posted by Luke111 View Post

      I don't want to sell my knowledge right now. This is a thing I could do when I'll chose to change business at the end of my career. I'll think about it in the future, however.

      You gave all gave me a lot of advices, and I thank you all for that.

      I'll choose to focus more on medium sized businesses rather than small ones.

      Making a website for myself, like a kind of small social network for something very specific could be another solution. I thought about it recently.

      Thank you all.
      It's not about selling your knowledge, it's about sharing it and selling stuff related to your niche.
      You can create a tutorial on building a website and promote your favorite web hosting provider. This is what affiliate marketing is all about.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmehedic
    hi friend, you are very experince person. so you should think creative. Because you have many experience visual design, photo editing, copywriting (not in english), SEO, adwords, facebook ads, web marketing, logo design, wordpress, e-commerce in this side. so you can open cossing center/corporate office or another things.
    Thank you
    If you make a mistake, then forgive me.
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  • Profile picture of the author neophonic
    Find an agency and get access to projects with higher budget. You can focus on work, get paid well and do not spend resources on marketing yourself to get these kinds of jobs.

    Usually the businesses who hire agencies are willing to pay more and you will be part of the bigger team to accomplish larger projects. It works for me while I am still able to keep my own clientele.

    Try to get into Toptal dot com if you want to keep yourself solely on Freelancing track but receive high pay jobs. Also UpWork does have a program for highly experienced workers.

    If you have the knowledge you want and know how to share it, create a course on UDEMY and sell it. Sharing your skills at the end of the career? These skills might be outdated at given time. Sharing skills can actually drive you higher income - increasing your perceived brand value will also increase price you can ask for.

    I guess you are experienced enough to take somebody who will work under your wings and you can focus on business development & quality assurance of deliverables. You do not have to design websites for the rest of your life if you excel at it. Start your own agency in your area and ask your fellow freelancers to join. After all, you can do your presentation yourself. Once you run a local agency, you can add other related services as well - content production and many others - through freelancers who will work under your brand name. As somebody already told here, big companies will not risk being bound to one man show. Anything can happen to you or you will be just sick and not able to react fast in case of need and they will be doomed. Time to scale up!

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Luke111 View Post

    The part about teaching the small businesses how to help themselves sounds like a nice idea.

    To be honest, I have not got the robber thing however.

    No, I'm not in the US nor in UK.
    The robber thing was simply to point out that if you want to make more money, you have to go where the money is.

    Willie Sutton could have chosen to rob convenience stores, but the take would have been very small. He chose to rob banks, because banks keep a lot of cash on hand, meaning he could take a much larger amount of money for about the same amount of work.
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  • Profile picture of the author nickyz1
    You can find ways of increasing your customer base. By using funnels you can show case your work online to different people which will give you an opportunity to gain more customers
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  • As you mentioned above you are not earning enough..!!
    And you may have many years of experience. Then why are you running after small business??
    But the thing is you can earn from small business also. And do one or two big projects in a month. I think then your earning will be enough for you.
    What you can do is-
    • You can do freelance services like work in Fiverr for simple task as you mentioned above logo design, WordPress, e-commerce site making.
    • In this way you can earn $ 200 to $ 500 or more.
    • Second, you can open up a office, advertise your services through online, in facebook and other social media. People will come to know about your service. And will hire you.
    • Third , you can creat a website of your own like, web developing site at an affordable price. And promote this site. Offer the best price.
    • I'm sure you'll earn enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    The number of ways you can make more money is limited:
    1. Sell more of the same to more people
    2. Sell something else to the same people
    3. Sell something else to other people
    4. Sell the same things you're selling right now for more money.

    If you want to keep selling to medium -sized companies in the niches you're used to, find richer medium-sized companies and sell them the same things you already sell + something else.

    Since you say you know SEO and making website, you can stop selling websites and SEO and sell them client-acquisition systems... Yes, some of it involves changing the names of the items you sell... The rest has to do with states of mind and results.

    Recently, I worked with someone who got quoted the following prices for the same thing: wedding dress website:
    $4,500 (would take $2,800) if I paid cash, included a site that had SEO'd pages.
    $15,000 and up, (depending on number of pages I want, included SEO'd pages).
    $12,000 to $25,000 (depending on number of pages I want, included SEO'd pages).

    They did not like the guy who quoted them the lowest amount: they would never, ever work with him.

    They could not afford the other prices, so they looked some more, till they found someone who, for $7,500, created the site structure, 10 or 11 pages and a couple of templates and thought them how to use the templates to add more pages till they got the site they wanted... Also, they included a list of keywords and told them: page about widget A, add keyword about widget A in title, in alt text (yup, he showed them how to do that) and some other keywords as urls and names of images).

    They were not happy with the price, but, being the best option they could find in the allotted time, they went with it. A couple of weeks later, after they did some image optimization and created a couple of pages, they thought the price was low.

    Anyway, there are two things working against you:
    your mind set (you think that you can work only with medium sized companies in certain niches and that they are willing to pay only $x)

    your mind set (you not positioning yourself properly).

    I'll take this out of selling online stuff, so you don't put undue emotion into it.

    Once upon a time, I owned a real estate appraising company.
    When I started, I charged $250 for a basic appraisal, $400 for the most complex appraisal of a single family house.

    I thought I was doing great. Everyone else was charging $250 for basic and only $100 extra for the complex.

    But I was brighter and I was me. I thought I should get more. And I raised my prices 2 times in the span of 1 year. At first to $300 for basic and $600 for complex.

    Then to $350 for basic and $600 for basic complex and up to $1,200 for complex complex.

    (Yup, I found that some houses were complex in relation to a basic 4 room, 2 bedroom, 1-bath house but that there were many levels of complexity, each requiring more skill and time.)

    I had to drop some clients but, lo and behold, others appeared that were willing to pay me what I asked.

    Why? Because 1. I positioned my office better. 2. I delivered better quality. 3. I had the nerve to ask for more.

    Positioning and quality came along these lines:
    I had a full-time receptionist/sappraiser. while other outfits had an answering machine or service that promised someone would call back within 24 to 48 hours.

    I claimed that I can back up my values without being timid... And, indeed, if any lender ever challenged the value one of my appraisers gave, we always won the argument... (Well, almost always...I could not convince them 1 in 1003 times, which was much better than what other appraisers did).

    Where is the extra quality in there? All other appraisers looked at quality from an appraiser's point of view: proper research, all fields filled out properly, etc.

    I looked at it from my client's point of view: fast delivery, fast response after deliver (full-time receptionist meant they never had to wait till the appraiser came back to the office from the field to review and respond to questions).

    Long (but I hope useful) way to say that you need to re-position yourself and accept that you have to either find new clients or see to it that they fully understand the value of what you provide (which means you have to do it to).

    So, some questions for you:
    when they hire you, they don't do something else. What is that something else they do not do? (Often, it is they don't hire another company/constractor.) How do you compare to that option? How are you worth more? (Yes, many people can create a site. How many can also do SEO? How many can do SEO and copywriting? To me, the fact that you can do SEO and compywriting (even if not advanced) should get you more money and more clients, assuming you inform said clients (when prospects) that you do such things in a manner they understand.

    Think about it: if they did not hire you,
    they'd have to hire a web designer / creator
    a copywriter
    an SEO expert.

    That normally translates into a much larger cost... because, you being all-in-one can offer them a good discount.

    Web site $1500
    SEO set up $200
    Copywriter $600
    That's $2,300.

    However, you could do it for $1,950.

    You get more than if you sell a website, less than if you sell them separately to different clients. They pay less for more.

    The point is to find what your competition does and how, then position yourself differently, at a higher cost, because you deliver more value.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke111
    This is the answer I was really searching for

    Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    You could offer the whole package.

    Open a host reseller account. Do the hosting, web design, etc. You should also check out Fresh Store Builder (look it up) about designing and selling stores. You could advertise your skills here and elsewhere. You could even host those under your host reseller account. You could sell entire stores, with products already listed, domain, everything. You could list them for auction on GoDaddy, etc. FSB - Talk to Carey Baird. He's also in the UK.

    I'd do it myself but I don't have the skillset well enough, imho.
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    Domains for sale - see seopositions.net
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    You can always write and sell ebooks, and make a living in the ebook/information marketing business. All you're doing is transferring a piece of information to paper/text, and selling it at a relatively high price. Super low overhead, and automatic.
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