There are millions of web designers out there that are looking for work, and since the advent of content management systems has made searching for web design jobs even more difficult, it is better if you think in the long term more than the short term. Make a long-term plan to promote yourself instead of putting all your efforts into snatching a few clients quickly.
Let them come to you via search engines
You should have your own website that is expertly designed, fully functional, easy to use and has a great user experience. You should also show samples of your work on the website too. If you are smart and know your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), then people will find you on search engines, see your work and contact you.
Create a LinkedIn profile
Simply enter your qualifications, experience, old clients (if they allow), plans, business details, and selling points. Add in a link to your website and there is always a small chance people will come to you to give you work. It is only a small chance, but it is better to be on LinkedIn than not, even if it only produces a handful of leads each year.
It is not as difficult as it seems. Google Adwords makes it very easy to create your own text adverts and have them online at a very low cost. You can monitor their impressions and clicks, and Google has plenty of advice on how to get the most out of your account. There are literally millions of other people posting web designer affiliate adverts online too, but you can tailor your adverts to appeal to people in your personal target audience for slightly better market penetration. Even if it only produces leads every few weeks, the work you get will often have enough profit to cover your affiliate advertising costs.
Spread your bets if you work freelance
You can find work on freelance websites where private citizens and companies post jobs. You apply and they hire you with pre-agreed terms. Working as a freelancer for companies and private citizens can lead you to ruin, but if you do not have clients that send you regular work, then you may have to enter the freelance market.
If this is the case, you have to spread your bets by working for several clients at once. Spend three to five hours on each client’s project every day, so that you may work for approximately three clients per day. This may seem like a lot of work and hassle, but the alternative is to work for one freelance client at a time, and that client may cause you trouble, ask for endless corrections, give poor specifications and/or not pay you. If you have several clients on the go at one time, then you spread your bets to the point where you will not go hungry if you come across a troublesome client.
Make friends with your old clients
Referrals are your most valuable resource. They are free advertising, so it is a very good idea to make friends with your clients and contact old ones now and again. They may put more work your way, but you could also ask them if they know people that need work. You can solicit the people they suggest and drop the name of your old client to buy you a little credibility.
Above all, you should make a marketing plan in which you decide what you are going to do, on what days and with what resources. A plan whereby you search every day for a job, via one or more of the means listed above, is going to be far more productive than scrambling for jobs whenever your client list dries up.