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Not many college students can say they make $120 an hour. But, that’s not the case with Josh Ahles. Josh started freelancing as a web designer only a few short months ago. But, in that time his success has skyrocketed. Here’s the crazy thing, only 8 months ago, Josh was afraid of freelancing as a […]

How to Crush it as a Freelance Web Designer in College

How to Crush it as a Freelance Web Designer in college || a college student in cap and gown doing a dab

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I have to be honest and say I did not think the Coronavirus would affect us as much as it has. I thought everyone was going a bit overboard. But, things kept getting worse. Then last week the CEO of the company I work for sent out a message telling us that we would all […]

How to Make Your Web Design Business Coronavirus Proof

A Face Mask lying on the concrete

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I’ve talked to a lot of freelancers over the years. After a while, a few common issues started to pop up. It turns out a lot of us are struggling with the exact same issues but no one is talking about it with one another! That’s the topic of this week’s episode on the Self-Made […]

The 5 Worst Mistakes Freelancers Make and How to Fix Them

The 5 Worst Mistakes Freelance Web Designers Make and How to Avoid Them || a paper with a sticker on it that says Mistake

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Today I talk about how it all began. My story starts out of tragedy but it doesn’t end there. 6 years ago my wife of 10 years left me. When she did I had to figure out how I could make extra money for me and my 3 daughters as a single dad. Off of […]

How I Doubled My Income After a Tough Divorce

How I Doubled My Income After Divorce || a light shining on one stretch of road in the woods

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There has never been a better time to start a side hustle in a tech-related field. There are so many opportunities out there to find work you can do right from the comfort of your own home. Best thing? You don’t have to have a ton of experience to get started. In fact, you can […]

How to Get Started with a Tech Side Hustle

How to Start a Tech Side Hustle || Table with a coffee mug with the word Hustle on it

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Dear Freelance Web Designer, We need to talk. As you know there are around 30.1 million of us here in the US. I know that after reading that your mouth is probably salivating. The harvest is ripe for the taking! Right? Hold on a sec. I feel like there’s a disconnect between you, the freelance […]

An Open Letter from a Small Business Owner to Freelance Web Designers

Man writing a letter

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I am so excited to announce that on March 3rd, 2020 I will officially be launching a podcast to go along with selfmadewebdesigner.com! Let me tell ya, I’m excited about this. For months I’ve been quietly working in the background interviewing people that I have looked up to for years. People like: Laurence Bradford of […]

Introducing the Self-Made Web Designer Podcast

Self-Made Web Designer Podcast || A microphone and headphones

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The first time I tried getting potential freelance web design clients was not pretty. I had just finished the very first site I had ever done. It was for a friend of mine who is a fitness coach. My strategy was pretty simple: Google fitness coaches/gyms located within a 30-mile radius of me See if […]

How to Get Freelance Web Design Clients Starting from Scratch

Finding freelance web design clients starting from scratch || a man in a field looking for something

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I remember being on the phone with a client that would be my biggest paying customer yet. It hadn’t been that long since I was first able to get “Hello world!” to show up on my web browser from an HTML tag in a text editor. But, here I was talking with an agency from […]

From $500 to $4500 for WordPress Websites in No Time At All: My Story

How I Went from Charging $500 to $4500 Building WordPress Sites|| A man walking up stairs with red shoes

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If you haven’t figured it out by now you will soon enough. Some people will be really, really bad freelance web design clients. The kind that will make you want to quit freelancing altogether. You have to make sure you do what you can to avoid nightmare clients. You know the kind that doesn’t get […]

7 Things Really Bad Freelance Web Design Clients Say

7 Things Really Bad Freelance Web Design Clients Say||Man Screaming with x over his mouth

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That’s my son. Dean. A chip off the ole block. At least, I think he is. He’s only 4 weeks old as I write this. He could turn out to be a jerk. Fingers crossed 🤞🏼 I’M KIDDING! He’s awesome. I love my son…a lot. But, having him after a 7 year stretch from my […]

The Busy Dad’s Simple Guide to Learning Web Design

A Busy Father's Guide to Learning Web Design|A man on the beach with his son

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Pricing is scary as a freelance web designer. Ask for too much and you run the risk of losing the project. Price too little and you might get taken advantage of by a client and miss out on some serious “dough.” 💸 Before we dive too deep let’s talk about some principles Time-Driven vs. Value-Driven […]

A Simple How To Pricing Guide For Freelance Web Designers

A Simple How to Pricing Guide for Freelance Web Designer|| A sale sign in a store window

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As a freelance web designer, it’s easy to go from feast to famine. One month you’ve got more work than you can handle and the next month you literally have nothing. Zero, zilch…it’s depressing. You get to the point where you’d be willing to do just about anything tech-related for just about any amount of […]

52 Places to Find Freelance Web Design Projects Online

Man sitting in coffee shop working on computer

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There are tons of ways to make extra money online these days. You don’t have to go too far before you hear how someone sits around all day just clicking links on a website and earns $100k per year. Not buying it. While there are a lot of fake folks out there trying to sell […]

How to Make Extra Money Online Building Websites

How to earn extra money onliny making websites| man at table working on laptop

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I was on vacation with my fiance. We had just gotten engaged actually. We were out in California at a conference I was apart of. In case you didn’t know, this was my life before web design. The conference went great and we were on our way back to Arizona. We stopped at the outlet […]

How To Start A Freelance Web Design Project The Right Way

Paint on street that says "Start Here"

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Let’s be real. Project management for web designers can be a bit of a sore spot. A lot of us are super creative but lacking a bit when it comes to keeping track of the details. Is that just me? Anyone else relate? 👋🏼 When I first started I quickly learned that being a good […]

6 Amazing Project Management Tools for Web Designers

A computer, a notepad and cell phone

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I have a confession to make. I haven’t always had a great Job Success Score on Upwork. In fact, there was a season that my Job Success Score got all the way down to 78%. In Upwork world that’s the equivalent of a huge sign that says, “Worst Freelancer Ever. Do Not Hire.” But, despite […]

How to Recover from a Bad Job Success Score on Upwork

Manequin lying on the ground

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The holiday season can be a mixed bag. Especially if your the kind that tries to find the absolute perfect gift for the people in your life. Let’s be real. Some people are pretty tough to buy for. A web designer whether newbie or seasoned professional is one of those that are tough to peg. […]

The Best Holiday Gift Guide for Your Web Designer

Gift Boxes

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The holidays are such a fun time. It’s everyone’s chance to tear away from work, spend time with people you love and in general take a break. Unless you’ve got a side hustle. Then you’re left wondering how to get the most out of the holidays while still keeping up with your side hustle. For […]

How to Get the Most out of the Holidays with a Side Hustle

Wreath on a Door

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It wasn’t long ago that Upwork didn’t charge for connects. You got a certain amount each month just for being on the platform and if you wanted to you could buy more. Not any more. Those days are long gone. And, listen, there’s a lot that’s been said about how wrong Upwork is for doing […]

How to Make a Winning Bid on Upwork

Man in desert celebrating

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One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Branson founder of the Virgin Group. He says: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” This was my philosophy when I first got started as a web designer […]

How to Fake it Till You Make it as a Web Designer

Thumbs up sticking out of palm trees

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I’d like to tell you an all to common story about an average web designer and their client. Our first scene begins with the initial conversation. And ACTION! Client: “I’ve got a really short timeline. Can you get this done quickly?” Web Designer: “Well, it won’t be easy. I’ll have to push some other things […]

How to Get Paid On Time as a Freelance Web Designer

Hand with coins

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The landscape of the workplace has changed drastically. That’s probably a huge understatement, right? And, it hasn’t just been within the past decade. We’re talking about within the past 3 years. It’s not just businesses that are driving the change but the EMPLOYEES as well. People are wanting more freedom and no longer anticipate being […]

How To Win as a Web Designer in the Gig Economy

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I was pretty much a full-time musician for about 13 years. To be fair, I was the worship leader of a church. Which is probably a lot different than what you’d think of in the usual sense of a “full-time musician.” But, that’s the easiest way I know how to describe what I did. Here’s […]

How I Changed Careers at 36 to Web Design

A sign pointing left and right

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I hear it pretty consistently. “Upwork is a race to the bottom. The only people that go on there bid so low I can’t compete with them.” Let me set the record straight. Upwork isn’t a race to the bottom. It’s a platform that you can make really good money IF you’re a good web […]

Why Upwork isn’t a Race to the Bottom

Men climbing a mountain

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That first client is always one of the toughest. To be more realistic the first 5 clients are always the toughest. When I first started it was slow going. I think that’s true of anyone trying to break through in any kind of industry. It’s a vicious cycle. Clients give jobs to web designers with […]

How To Get Your First Web Design Client

Starting mark on running track

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Pricing is one of the biggest sources of anxiety for web designers. There have been so many times in my 5 years of freelancing that I came to the end of a project only to realize I had way underbid. And, I’m not talking about scope creep where the client keeps adding features we hadn’t […]

Web Designers. How to be Confident with What You Charge

Old cash register

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My wife and I were married almost two years ago as I write this. With our marriage came love, joy, excitement and about $30k of debt. And, listen, neither of us are big spenders. In fact, we’re the opposite. We can make pennies last beyond what seems earthly possible. For instance, my favorite meal is […]

How I Got Out of Debt with a Web Design Side Hustle

Freedom Image

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Ahh, the timeless tale of finding freelance web design clients. It’s a tale as old as time, really. And with that tale comes a certain amount of beauty and a certain amount of beastliness. (Catch the Disney reference? Sorry, I’ve got 3 daughters) Whether you’re just starting out with a web design business or you’ve […]

10 Ways To Find Freelance Web Design Clients

Find Freelance Web Design Clients Binoculars

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I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success on Upwork. In fact, a few years back when Upwork decided to go public I was a featured freelancer in their Time Square ad campaign. To be clear I’m not a branding guru or logo designer. I’m a web designer BUT who cares! My face was […]

How to Make a Winning Upwork Profile

Profile with a green circle

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The world of web design freelancing is filled with amazing clients. I’ve had quite a few. But, at the same time, I’ve had a few nightmare clients that were unpleasable, unresponsive or plain un…… When you’re first getting started it’s tough to see the warning signs. But, over the years I’ve found a few ways […]

How to Sniff Out Nightmare Clients

Crab with claws

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It finally dawned on me. My wife of 10 years, 3 kids and over a year of her battling mental illness was done. She left me. Life as I knew it was over. Then came the realization that I had not only lost my wife but I had lost a tremendous amount of income.  You […]

My Story. From Heartbreak to Financial Breakthrough

Shrub coming through the sand

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It’s tough to know how much to charge someone. Especially when you’re first getting started. Charge too much and you run the risk of getting passed up. Charge too little and well, you know…you won’t make as much. And, that really sucks. When I began Self-Made Web Designer I couldn’t keep up with all the […]

You’re Underpricing Your Web Design Services

USD Cash

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“You’ll never make real money on Upwork. People only go there for cheap, poor quality work.” Those are the things I was told when I first started building a portfolio on Upwork. And, here we are now I’ve made over $70,000 from Upwork alone. Oh, and don’t forget about all the projects that came as […]

How to Double Your Income with Upwork

Dollar bill on counter

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Tiny portfolios. We all start with them. And, they kind of suck. If only they were as cool as Tiny Homes. *Sigh* Here is the conundrum: Clients are looking for web designers with a proven portfolio before they hire them. But, how do you add to your portfolio if no one wants to hire you?! […]

How to Wow Your Clients Even With a Tiny Portfolio

Small figurines on a counter

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Don’t get a degree to be a web developer. Are those fighting words? Good. I hope I can help as many people as possible avoid debt, wasted time and a 4+ year pause in experience in pursuit of a degree they don’t need to be successful. I’m sorry if you got a degree in computer […]

Your Web Degree is Dead to Me

Charis in a Classroom

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The one objection I hear most often about starting a web design business is the fear of not being able to deliver what you promised to clients or majorly screwing up on something important. Let me put your mind at ease with 6 simple words: “You are going to screw up.” It’s inevitable. It’s going […]

My First Big Failure as a Web Designer

Broken computer screen on floor

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I’ve often wondered why more people don’t jump into web design freelancing or any freelancing at all for that matter! This time in history is arguably the easiest it has ever been to make money.  Never before have you been able to learn whatever you want from anywhere you want. Never before have you been […]

How To Overcome Fear and Just Get Started

Boxers in a ring

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