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Building your freelance design business with only $25.00

Many of us who are full time freelancers did so after saving 6 months living expenses (myself excluded - but that's another story). We also spent a lot of time wondering where to begin, what we needed, what was the essential items for starting our freelance design business. This could also apply to writers, illustrators and other freelancers as well, but for this article I want to focus on the web design freelancers like myself.

Would you think it's possible to start your freelance business for $25.00 only? What would the excuses be for not jumping into the freelance business if starting was no longer such a large hurdle? Would knowing how to get started for only $25.00 help you to feel more relaxed about getting your freelance business off the ground? When you're guerrilla freelancing, it's all about thinking outside the box and approaching things from a different angle, and that's exactly what this article does; it approaches a seemingly big problem and turns it into one that costs the same as lunch and a coffee.

So how would you be able to start your freelance business for only $25.00? Lets break things down into the essentials and see how it all adds up.

Your web design domain name - $8.81

The most important (if you're a web designer anyways - for artists and illustrators you could start without a website, though I highly recommend it) aspect of your web design business is your domain name. Head over to namecheap and you can register your domain name for a year with the coupon code "ILUVNC" and it will only cost $8.81 for the first year.

*note: You can keep up to date with codes over at RetailMeNot because they switch every month

Your web design hosting account - $0.01

You read it right - one penny for the first month! Over at hostgator you can use the coupon code "guerrillafreelancing" and get your first month of hosting for only one penny. I chose the $9.95 per month package (the coupon is for $9.94 off, so if you choose a larger package, it will be more than a penny). In my experience, the $9.95 per month package will be more than enough for you to not only host your website, but also host your clients test sites (I have a sub folder for /clients/ and then each client gets their own folder so I can showcase their mock ups to them with that url).

Moleskine notebook - $15.90

I am assuming most freelancers or those on the verge of freelancing have heard of a Moleskine notebook, but for those who haven't, it's by far the best notebook to keep notes/articles/ect. Head over to the moleskine website and check out what they have to offer. So what can you use the moleskines for? Here's just a few things I have in my moleskine notebook:

  • Sketches of clients websites
  • Notes and ideas for client websites and my own projects
  • Marketing ideas
  • Time logging for each individual project
  • To-Do lists
  • Money management (I keep track of who owes what, when it's due, ect)

For only $10.95 + a few bucks s&h, this little notebook can help you with a ton of things for your business. I'd recommend over time getting a few of them for separate tasks, but for now the one notebook will do you just fine.

A few hours time submitting to CSS Galleries - FREE

The traffic and SEO benefits that submitting (and being approved) for CSS galleries can give your website are tremendous. Not only do you gain these benefits, but according to Leigh Taylor (who is an amazing designer by the way) you can gain a lot of leads and jump start your business with CSS gallery features as well.

Submitting to the full list of CSS galleries out there can be a bit overwhelming - if you don't know where to look. However, websites like The CSS Gallery List brings them all together for you and also has the submit buttons right there next to each gallery name. Take a bit of time out of your day (1-2 hours) and submit to as many on the list as possible - from top to bottom. You'll definitely be surprised with the results.

Total money spent - $24.72

Go ahead, add it up :) And when you're done, save the last 28 cents and start a change collection - it's a great way to start saving money without even thinking about it. So for $25.00 you can start your freelance web design business. Any other excuses now to not get started? I didn't think so :)

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  1. Just loved the article!

  2. MorayWeb says:

    That makes it sound too easy! Having said that I fall into one of the first descriptions you gave (the not knowing where to start one) and thanks to this article I now almost have a plan in mind!

    Great article thanks!

  3. Adam says:

    Here’s a way to do it for 10 dollars: Don’t waste money on a moleskin…

    What’s wrong with spending 25 cents on a regular notebook? 10.95+s&h is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on just a notebook (and don’t tell me its *more than a notebook*–it is clearly just a notebook with a leather cover).

  4. Mike says:

    @Adam…. yes, you could also pay a quarter for a regular notebook (70 page lined). In my experience though, the moleskines are highly durable and able to store business cards and various other items in the compartment in the back of it.

    But yes, you could definitely do the note taking in a cheap notebook and thus make it even easier to get started.

    Thank you for the comment. I appreciate your input and would love to see your thoughts on other articles here on Guerrilla Freelancing :)

  5. Leigh Taylor says:

    Great article, great read Mike!

    Thanks for the mention and hopefully the success i have had with the showcase galleries will work for quite a few more people!

  6. Mike says:

    Thanks for the comment Leigh. I appreciate it. And yeah, it can definitely work. I’ve got a few jobs through CSS gallery links and hope to do it again when I relaunch :)

  7. Nice list. Css Galleries are definitely the clutch item there. I didn’t know there was a site listing the galleries though. Awesome :)

  8. Henry says:

    I think you forgot to mention an important factor. What if someone doesn’t know how to code? They can purchase templates cheap now these days (10 bucks) and make that investment for their online portfolio. :) Everything else seems cheap to me!

  9. Isidor says:

    A list of CSS galleries to submit to, along with page ranks and submit links:

  10. kama says:

    this article will make more people going freelancing.


  11. Cathy Mason says:

    Great suggestions! Especially the CSS submissions!

  12. benjamin says:

    i wish it was easy for industrial designers…computer aided design and printing is easy to accomplish, but a large enough space to build objects and sell them is difficult..

  13. Excellent article that covers the basics of starting off on a freelancing career.

  14. Sam Kitson says:

    Another excellent and useful article. Many thanks!

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