As a beginning web designer you need to build a portfolio. That involves working cheap and even for free when a fantastic opportunity arises.
But at a certain point you should look for better-paying jobs, as working on many low-budget projects is suicide.
Let’s do a little math here. Say you need to earn 50,000 USD gross a year to be able to pay all your bills, rent a house, raise your kids, and have a good life. And assume you make low-budget websites at 2,500 USD each. After five years you would have a list of one hundred clients.
All those clients have small budgets and probably don’t have an in-house IT service. But from now on, you are their internet-savvy whizz kid, so you’ll end up with hundreds of people who think they can depend on you when another virus hits their PC or when their email client stops working.
I’ve been there, and I’m very bad at saying no when I’m the only guy those poor people can turn to. They even call me to ask which laptop they should buy for their daughter.
Avoid the pitfalls of cheap and, if possible, try to leave the low-budget market one day. Choose your clients carefully and deliver your site with a top-notch CMS so you can move on to the next project.
Read more about this issue in my blog posts: