To upgrade your web design hobby into a career; you need to look at the big picture. How do you get paid for doing something you already do for nothing: You can work for another company and get experience, or you can begin right away with your own business.

Create a business plan: This should detail specifics about your career plans; customers and potential customers, competition and their rates, your rates, your advantages over the competition, taxes and salary, and expenses. Add as many details as possible. Seeing your plans laid out will motivate you and help you stay organised and focused.

Polish all your skills, not just the ones you use the most for your web design hobby. You should be able to create graphics with Photoshop, be able to write and read HTML codes, have decent writing skills, know at least one type of programming like PHP or Perl, and have a working knowledge of the principals of design.

Build your own impressive website: How can you except others to pay you to design web pages for them, if you can’t create a professional one for yourself?

Stack your resume and portfolio: Keep track of all the hobby websites and designs you’ve created and have them available for future clients to reference. Ensure you have a variety of options, to meet the different interests of your potential clients. Do a little graphic design, some web page building, some technical writing, or all of the above, to show you are a well-rounded designer.

Practice: Do jobs for friends and relatives at a discount, if you don’t have enough for your resume and portfolio. Non-profits could use your services as well, but always charge something for your work. Giving it away free will only lead to frustration. If you don’t have confidence that your work is worthy, you’re going to have a hard time landing that big gig later on.

Advertise your services everywhere potential clients could be; Post your resume to online job boards like Monster. Use your local newspaper classifieds and your phone book.

Join an online forum for web designers. You will find advice from people who have already been where you are; transitioning a web design hobby into a career.