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    I’ve dabbled in design for some years but after a spell away im wanting to get back into it, so looking for some general advice!…

    I’ve always loved designing and mainly work in photoshop creating designs which i slice up and then use dreamweaver or similar app to create the site. this latter part i find way to time consuming and dont really enjoy though, not too mention im a bit old school not having done it in a while, and not up to speed with new tech such as ajax javascript,jquery not to mention html5 and css3….i could learn of course, but its time, and not of great enough interest.

    so im wondering on my options; can i become a freelance front-end designer who just does the wireframes/visual designs/site plan (i consider myself pretty good at this, and at usability) and then outsource to a coder to build the site? i realise most on here probably design and code themselves, but i just dont really enjoy it and take way too long to code a site – so im wondering about my business model as being get clients (more on this later) create site designs/structure plans and have them approved by client (making it sound easy huh?) and then outsource to companies that do psd to html conversions for a fee. i realise i dont then get that money from the client but i figure the time i’d save would be worth it, eg say 500 paid outsourcing, is 15 hours of my time time freed up to market myself and design instead. so ideally id charge a client 1000, pay 500 outsourcing, and be paid 500 for the concept/structure work.

    Back to that first part, getting clients; i’m working hard looking into marketing myself as a freelancer and a design agency brand. i realise therefore theres three parts to a web designers job; marketing to and gaining clients, the design and liasing stage, and the coding stage. trouble for me is i really only enjoy the design part and dont at all relish the meeting new clients face to face part! so im wondering about my choices here too; is it feasible i could also outsource this part? maybe partnering with someone who might work on a commission basis (percentage of total fee from each new client they create)?

    Another alternative might be a business model where i am telephone based only and never meet face to face – this in my view takes way too much time, time better spent at a desk on all the other important business elements.

    I’m really in quite a quandary about this as I really do love design, have great ideas, im strong on ux and usability, project management, and other freelance business demands, but i dont love meeting clients, or coding. I’ve been lucky I guess in the past to not had to meet clients, though I did always used to code, albeit wysiwyg dreamweavering. So what would your advice be? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Missing a different avenue I could consider?

    Wow, i’ve gone on, over to you guys!


    Well start with the design and outsource it. There are sites that do this, check out the Banners served to your right, it had some that all you do is give them the PSD and they cut the site into valid XHTML/CSS in 24 hours or less.

    I would of course deter you from doing so, but this stems from the fact that I love to code and because I feel I have much greater control about the bells and whistles I will add to the final site;if you really don’t, then there isn’t much we can do about it.

    About gainings customers, well, I hate that too, and this is why I have someone else getting new prospects in. :p


    Thanks for your reply, heartening! So how did you go about the new prospects part? Did you establish a company and employ someone? (at this stage out of my reach as a freelancer that, but i am considering/thinking of partnering with someone somewhere somehow)


    I partnered with someone to get clients and she is taking care of that. She does all the Facebook/Google Adwords stuff. I just do any banners, etc she might need. Initially though, you will have to work your way up through people you know; people will see your work, and traffic comes in.

    Good luck, specially with the coding. Although I disagree with you on outsourcing something as LOVELY as coding :p if you don’t love it there isn’t much to do as the saying goes, that you can take a horse to the water but can’t make him drink.

    By the way, if you like to read, there is a book from Smashing Magazine that is called, “Smashing – Successful Freelancing for Web Designers”. It’s cheap, and I think they sell it digitally on Kindle or iTunes, it’s very much worth it as it answers many of the initial questions you might have, including how to gain customers :p


    thanks! that book looks good, just ordered. p.s have you googled your nick recently? i was looking to see if you had twitter.. #ahemjustsoyoureaware

    thanks again for all your advice :)


    I am still on the fence about using Twitter. It’s just not very popular where I am from (Costa Rica) :-)



    Thanks josh. Yes since my original post I’ve come round to that way of thinking too, either being one who is outsourced to by an agency, and/or collaborating with other developer types.

    I’d agree with what you say about not being in control of the work when the client actually trusts its you completing it (what for example would happen if, as sometimes happens, they asked to speak directly to the developer but I’ve actually outsourced to a psdtohtml type firm? not possible.) So yup.


    I think what you’re trying to refer yourself as, is a graphic designer.


    I would suggest using Sitegrinder which is a software that adds the coding for you as long as you add the right comments to your slices, I haven’t used it myself, I’m still a big fan of ‘notepad’ and coding stuff myself (yes I know I should use something like Dreamweaver to speed up my workflow but that is just me). Otherwise there are a comple of sites where you send them the psd file and they do the coding for you, the plus side is i’m guessing the human programmers can trouble shoot or add any unique coding if it is required, whereas you’re limited by what sitegrinder can do.

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