Anyone who wants to build their own business can tell you that you have to sell yourself and your product, before you can become a business. This means making contacts. Post on blogs where web design is the hot topic.
Send out emails to potential clients once you have established communication with them. The important part is getting your name out there so that people may click on a link to see what you are able to do.
This is also the time when you need to consider how much you plan to charge for your web design abilities. This price should be fair for you, meaning that you can feel that your efforts have been worth it, but you still have to keep it reasonable to encourage potential clients to at least consider you.
At first, business will be slow. It will not be a problem to complete a website in a reasonable amount of time. As your client list grows, you may have to figure out how to manage your time. You would not want to have 10 people waiting on you to finish with their website while you are still working on the first one. Take on only what you are able to handle.
Allow yourself some time for sleep and getting away from the computer to handle other things. Do not tell a client that you can have a full website designed in an hour if you know that it will take you a day or two. Little things like this may not seem important, but when trying to become a dependable web designer, you do not want clients to feel you are unreliable.
You want them to refer to you others who may need to set up a website.
If you get to the point where you are unable to keep up and feel that you are turning away more work than you are taking on, it could be time to try and find someone you trust to work alongside you. This may be other people who are trying to make it in the freelance world, but may not have enough money or a large enough portfolio to be building their own business.
With any luck at all, you will have learned what it takes to start a web design business and be on your way to success. This means that although gradually at first, you will start to see some profits coming your way and all the planning, preparations, free work, and trial and errors will pay off. It is not an easy road, but the rewards will be worth the effort.