Are you wondering how to start a web design business with no experience? Don’t worry – with a combination of hard work, creative problem-solving, and the right resources; anyone can get started.
In this blog post, I will provide an introduction to starting a web design business from scratch with no experience or background knowledge! Just for some quick background on me, I am a website designer now, but actually didn’t even go to school for design – I have a B.A. in Communications. So, I’m just like you!
Keep reading to learn more about how to start a web design business with no experience. Or, listen to the episode below!
How to Start a Web Design Business with No Experience
Take Online Courses
So my first tip is actually to take online courses, but only take a course if the instructor is in a position that you want to be in.
If you want to be a web designer who spends a lot of time traveling, then you should try to find a designer who’s doing that and has their own course so that you can learn from them, because you really need to find someone that’s not just talking the talk. They’re actually walking the walk and living the life that you dream of having!
There really are tons of courses out there, and you by no means need to pay tons in order to learn what you need to learn. You can go on YouTube and piece things together, even using people’s miscellaneous blog posts; just know that it will take you a little bit longer to do this, which is why I do recommend trying to take an online course because you can cut those corners of having to piece everything together.
Trust me; I tried to get by on free stuff for a very long time, especially in my blogging business, which is a whole other story. But I really didn’t even start investing in that until about two years ago. But it’s a 10-year-old business, and I think I would have been a lot further by now if I had even made very small investments in my business over the years.
You could also even use a place like Skillshare, which I recently joined. There are really courses for everything on there and a lot of them are very, very good for what you pay because I think it’s $99 for the year and there are some very in-depth courses on there.
There are always these fun class projects that you can do too, as you take the course, to really be applying what you learn. That platform just truly does have a variety of courses that you can take.
I have found, if you’re interested in Showit, there’s not very much of Showit content on there, but as far as UI and UX design goes, you can definitely take our course, Camp Site.
Practice as much as possible
Okay, so next in this one might sound a little dumb, but you really need to practice as much as possible. There really are tons of different briefs out there that you can join in on, though a lot of them will be hosted on Instagram, and they do tend to have a heavy focus on branding instead of website design.
But you can definitely spin them to work more for website design instead, and that will allow you to start to grow your portfolio!
Another way to practice is also just to dream up those clients that you really want to work with and then design website mock-ups for that dream client, and you can make website mock-ups look so fancy in Photoshop and stuff to make them look like it’s actually a legit website!
I found that people really aren’t going to ask you if the websites in there are real or fake. You really just have to showcase your skill, and the best way to do that is just to practice as much as possible.
I remember when I first started, and I really thought that if I put a fake project In my portfolio that someone would be like, “Oh, like, where’s the client’s testimonial? Like, is this not a real project?” And I never had that happen. So just know that that does not happen at all!
Do a lot of passion projects
Kind of going along with that, try to do lots of passion projects. So if there’s a type of design that you’re really interested in trying out, do a passion project for it.
For example, sometimes if I really want to try something in a specific design style, but I know that I probably won’t get a client who will want to design in that design style, or I just really want to see if I can design that way, then I’ll just do a passion project for it.
I don’t even have to post about it anywhere online, and I’ll just practice it, and kind of see how it looks and see if it feels good to me, and it’s just kind of something fun to do to fuel your creative soul and everything like that.
Passion projects can often be reused in other ways, so a lot of my passion projects end up becoming the website templates that we share and sell in the Not Your Average Template Shop.
For example, I made a really cool one recently all about a florist, and I’m obsessed with it. It was just because I really wanted to design something with lots of fun shapes, and I saw all these photos online on Pexels that inspired me to make an entire template.
So that is where that template came from, and I’m so excited about that. But it really just gave me a chance to mess around and try to design in a really fun and quirky way that I love designing in because it had been a while since I had a really quirky website project like that.
Post online as much as possible
Next, when you’re brand-new, you want to be posting as much as possible online. I know it feels weird to post more than once in a day, but just literally post as much as you want and just post your stuff often.
A lot of the stuff you’re posting should be a mix of those passion projects that you’re creating and also different educational pieces, just to show that you do know what you’re talking about.
That’s what I did a lot of when I first started, and then I think I shared a lot of testimonials too for other types of projects that I had done in the past.
Work as a junior designer for another creative
If you want to know how to start a web design business with no experience, one of the best things you can do is work as a junior designer for another creative.
Often, whoever you’re a junior designer under will ask you different questions, and you can start to grow your role in that business help out with other creative decisions, and in the end, it just really really helps you kind of get a grasp on what a successful design business looks like on the inside.
If you are growing your own business at the same time though, be sure to be honest about that during the hiring process.
Join Facebook Groups
Next, you should consider joining Facebook groups. You really want to find ones that are very well moderated, which means you know there are lots of rules in order to post something and regarding sharing links and everything like that, because then at least people aren’t being super spammy on it every day.
So I’m definitely in a few groups that are a mess when it comes to spammy links on the daily, but I join Facebook groups to try to find different job postings that occasionally come up.
Now one thing I will say is that a lot of job postings in Facebook groups will usually get 50 to 100 comments, which can be a little bit annoying.
So it’s like how the heck am I supposed to stand out? But when I first got into my business, and I had little to no experience with website design, I would say I got probably like five to seven different clients in my first few months just from Facebook groups, so I do think that they are still a bit slept on.
My main advice, though, for trying to get a position from a Facebook group is to comment and leave your link, but don’t just write, “Hey, I’m interested” and post a link.
Instead, write what makes you different, what you do with your process, like, obviously don’t make it super long, but really get a three to five sentence about your business with the link, and then post it.
And then what I’ll also do is see if I can find the poster’s website that they currently have or their social media and I’ll actually follow them over on social media. I’ve been told a few times in the past that people had actually ended up working with me because I did that.
It kind of added that extra touch so that they remember my name when they were going through that list of people who had commented. Whatever you do, though, don’t spam, dm them or message them on Facebook because I feel like that’s an automatic turn-off. So definitely keep your boundaries, but if you give them a quick follow on Instagram or anything. That’s not weird at all.
Listen to podcasts from other designers
I found when I first started listening to other designers’ podcasts that they were so helpful. Now it can get a little bit overwhelming because I know a lot of podcasts are very educational-based with tons of different facts, so don’t feel like you have to do everything all at once, but even just listening to other designers’ processes or how they handle difficult client experiences and the knowledge that they have for running their own business can really be beneficial, especially in a podcast format because it’s completely free.
I found that a lot of people tend to share tons of information on podcasts versus on their social media and stuff like that because they have the ability just to keep talking without a stop. I do the same exact thing in my own episodes.
Consider offering lower-price projects
This very last one is one that I feel like might be a little bit controversial, but it is one that I did when I first started, and I do want to preface this by saying that I know not everybody is in a position to be able to do this, especially if you have tons of bills to pay and everything like that.
But something that I did when I first started was I took on lower price projects, and what I mean by this is obviously I was still charging for my time, but when I first started, my websites were $1,500 for the same inclusions that I have in my sites today.
I mean plus, now I do website strategy, and I do seven pages instead of five. But when I first started, I didn’t mind charging lower prices because I was new, right? I wanted that experience.
Final Thoughts: How to Start a Web Design Business with No Experience
Hopefully this post has helped you figure out how to start a web design business with no experience! I’ve been in your shoes before, so I know exactly how it is. You’ve got this!
If you are looking to start your website design business, I highly recommend you check out our course Camp Site. It’s the perfect place to start.
Want to keep reading? Check out these posts next:
- Should you put pricing on your website?
- How to Use the One Concept Method & Strategy in Web Design
- 9 Types of Web Design Services You Can Offer
KP (she/her) is the founder and designer behind Inkpot Creative, which was founded back in 2020. She specializes in Showit website design, blogging, and SEO. Over the years, she’s built custom websites for more than 50 photographers and has helped grow client’s monthly website traffic between 20% – 77.7%. When not designing, she can normally be found hiking in the mountains, working on her travel blog Volumes & Voyages, or trying to find the best iced chai in her city.