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I keep hearing and seeing a lot of time people complaining a lot of times about the fact that they don’t have that artistic “vision” that is required in order to be a web designer. My friends, the ability to design is not a skill that you are born with.

Like learning how to speak, to walk, to eat, to ride a bike or to code a website, designing it is a skill you learn through practice and work (sometimes hard work).

Yes, at first your work will be crappy, but through repetition, you can learn or even master it.

This post is written for two tipes of people: The ones that want to learn how to make a living using this skill and for developers that believe they can only use the part of brain that is dedicated only for analytical stuff (you can use both, guys. it’s only in your head that you can’t get creative).

So you decided that you want to start creating the looks of a website, but you don’t know how to start. Well, obviously there are two parts: The theoretical and the practical part.

I’ll tell you my story so you can get an idea.

So I was quite sad because I didn’t had something planned for the future. I tried one or two thing related to online marketing, but they didn’t get moving.

I search a bit and found a course on Udemy about how to make a living from freelance web design. I found it exciting because it was created by a guy that was also living in Bucharest. That course eventually changed my life. You can find a link to it here: https://www.udemy.com/master-web-design-in-photoshop/ . Thank you, Cristian!

The course teached first of all how to get started with photoshop, things like using the ruler, creating shapes, aligning objects and editing colors. Next I learned how to create general web design elements like sliders, hero areas and different section and eventually combining them together. This was the theoretical part.

The last part was the hardest, and it was the one that took the most to learn (the practical one). It was all about creating web design proposals on contest platforms like 99designs, with the scope of winning a part of them.

Now, here is why I insist on the idea that web design is a skill that you can learn with practice. I had to submit design propsals over and over again until I eventually won a contest (this is the way it works on 99designs). My first designs were terrible. It was simply painful to look at them. Who would ever pay for such a crap?

Believe it or not, eventually someone decided to pay for them. It took me a bit more than 3 months and over 50 (or even more, I don’t remember exactly) design proposals until I finally got my first bucks from web design.

If you are focused on doing this, you will succed eventually. And I guarantee, it’s the best feeling in the world. Maybe your victory would mean getting a job in this industry but for me it was winning a contest on 99designs. Later I decided that 99designs is actually a waste of time, and the rate of investment is really poor. They gave me the title of “platinum designer”, but I was still earning pennies for my work.

As a starter, you will need to start to do general things. You can even go to 99designs and start participating on all kinds of web design contests, no matter in which industry the business that you design for activates in.

After you make close to 50 proposals and eventually make some money, you can choose to specialize on things like “web design for lawyers”.

No matter what route you take, you need to remember that you have to…

Think big and start small.

If you look at it from above, you can see that things are pretty straight forward. If you decide to apply to web design contest on platforms like 99designs, all that you have to do is to create design after design untill you eventually win one.

Let’s say you decide to approach the clients alone, directly. Basically, all you have to do is to start sending proposals until eventually you land your first client.

Learning web design is simple, but not necesarry easy.

Set a target for yourself. Decide how many designs you will need to create per week and set a goal (let’s say 10 designs per week). Use a notepad (or evernote or whatever) and track how many designs you are creating each week. If you don’t reach your number, analyse what is holding you back and try harder the next. You will get better and better and eventually you will succed.