The Essential Tools
Previously we discussed what web design is and both what you need to know and what would be nice to know in order to get started as a web designer. Now that you know what web design is and what you need to know to do it we are going to discuss the tools you will need to finally determine if it is the right path for you and get started.
1) A Computer
This is probably common sense but I am going to add it just in case. In order to get started as a web designer you will need a computer, preferably one with a decent amount of RAM. While you will not need to save a bunch of stuff on your local drive you will very often have quite a few tabs open and you will need a computer that is capable of this without getting bogged down all the time. You may be tempted to save some money and go with the cheapest option you can find, and while for some that may be your only option, we highly recommend if you can afford it get one that has some power and can last you a while.
2) Multiple Monitors
I hesitated to include this in the list as it is not necessarily essential but felt like it was worth while simply by how much of a game changer it is to any designer. The ability to have multiple pages all pulled up at the same time is a priceless asset and once you experience it, you will never be able to go back. My personal recommendation is three but everyone has their own preference.
3) One Premium WordPress Theme
There are tons of WordPress themes out there and not all are created equally. While you should be able to work with any theme if needed, I recommend having one theme that you are an expert at. Most of the time, unless they already have a theme installed and you are just making changes to their site, a client is not going to care what theme you use and having one that you know exactly how to use will allow you to build a better product more quickly than if you used one you had to learn about. Personally I recommend using themify, in particular themify ultra but ultimately you just want to make sure that it is a theme that allows for a lot of customization, good support, and has a lot of documentation. Having plugins and a builder that are made by the same company is a big plus as well.
4) A Very Strong Word Ethic
Though it is last on the list having a strong work ethic is probably, besides having a computer, the most important tool to have. Working as a web designer means working for yourself. A lot of people imagine this ideal world of creating your own hours, being able to work from anywhere, and nice dinners/meeting with clients. While all of those things are obtainable and part of the gig if you want them to be, they are only the positives. Making your own work hours means no one is going to tell you that you need to work. You have to get yourself up to do it and every hour you are not working means money you are not making. This can be a very difficult thing to manage. You run both the risk of not doing anything and being completely consumed by your work. Additionally, being self employed also means doing a bunch of things that you don’t want to do. Since it’s only you, you have to do everything. You may want to create websites but to do that you need clients, so that means you also have to work in sales and marketing. Everything you offer to your clients you also have to do for yourself but you don’t make any money when it’s for you. You should realistically plan on for every hour you spend actually designing a website you will spend an hour obtaining/keeping that client, probably even more when you are first getting started. This is why having a strong work ethic is so important. Working for yourself is amazing and can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also hard and requires a lot of self discipline.