Being a Freelance Web Designer – 6 month review

So I’ve actually been at this for eight months now but it seemed a bit random to have an eight month review. Now we’ve got that little white lie out of the way I can start being honest with you, being a Freelance Web Designer is the scariest thing I’ve done in my entire shortish life. It’s very much a life of extremes, where periods of extreme elation are often followed by periods of extreme stress and periods of extreme stillness are followed by periods of extreme pandemonium, where you seem to be working every conceivable minute of every possible day.

Let’s start the with Pro’s as it’s always good to start on a high! Or is it end with a high? I can never remember… Working for yourself is blissful at times, where the most obvious benefit is being the hero of your own destiny, the keeper of time, the king of ages… you get the picture. Flexitime has nothing on working for yourself, I personally always find myself being more productive later in the day so rather than forcing myself to be productive following someone else’s schedule I came up with my own.

I always find myself in a major slump between 14:00 and 15:00 every day which is usually caused by eating a particularly massive lunch so instead of forcing myself to work through this period when I’m no way near my best I simply take it out of the equation. Obviously I answer my phone and emails between typical business hours but the creative mojo can’t be controlled and flows when it wants to, so I make the most of it’s “peak” periods when I can.

The ability to choose your own clients is also a major plus, in an agency you have work thrust upon you, work that you may not be completely enthused about and this is a problem, if you can’t get motivated or find inspiration from your clients how will you produce your best work? Simple. You won’t.

I often try to have the best relationship possible with my clients, I don’t want to be friends with them I just want to build a rock solid foundation built on understanding and trust. I want my clients to inspire me, to fill me with excitement and anticipation and unfortunately if the magic spark isn’t there it usually means it’s a no go.

Now let’s move onto a couple of the cons now shall we? The biggest con for me is probably the loneliness that comes with the territory. Being a freelancer means being a business of one, there’s no one to say hello to in the morning and no one to say goodbye to at night when you leave (although you never leave!). It’s very important to make sure that you have a separate working area dedicated to your business, got a spare room or a shed handy? Brilliant! Commandeer it and make it your own. Having a separate working environment is almost mandatory as you’ll need to make sure you keep your working life and your personal life very separate otherwise they are going to end up fusing together into some kind of unholy mess.

Another con for me is that there is a lot of waiting around. It’s hard enough getting clients but when you have slow ones it can be just as dangerous. One slow client can throw a spanner in the works, it may not sound much but obviously if the client is slow at providing feedback then your deadline will slip. If the deadline slips your payday also slips, any potential new clients that enquire about your availability will suffer because you aren’t sure how busy you will be. Now one of these clients is manageable but what if you have a few slow clients at the same time, It can completely ruin your cashflow and with it your business!

It’s important as a freelancer to make sure you are good at chasing up and managing clients and making sure that the schedules stay on schedule, unfortunately this is probably my biggest problem but something I will be working on improving in the coming months.

So that’s that a little insight into my life as a Freelance Web Designer six eight months down the road! Will I still be here in another six months? Definitely!

BRB lunchtime.