Freelance is often compared to a leisurely lifestyle, the ability to work on your own hours, no manager to answer to, and most importantly — the permission to choose the type of projects you want to work on, without feeling like you’re being forced into the decision. Truly, a freelance lifestyle can be quite rewarding.
When you work for someone else, you don’t get a choice of who you work with. You can become stuck with unprofessional or rude clients. But, when you’re a freelancer, you can choose with whom you work. If you don’t mesh well with a client’s personality or business or payment philosophies, you can pass on the opportunity and wish them the best. It’s as easy as that. — Charlene Jimenez
So much so that a lot of freelance web designers are looking into deeper areas of the web design market, to find new ways of earning that extra income without feeling like they’re wasting their time, meaning that there are opportunities to make extra money from doing the things that you love, without sacrificing time or learning opportunities. The amount of freelance jobs for web designers out there is staggering, so it comes down to what you want to work on yourself.
We recently published a post that discussed some of the top tools and their appropriate categories for staying busy and productive as a freelance worker, and today we’re going to expand on that list by taking a look at some of the essentials that we need to be aware of in order to continue succeeding as freelancers, to continue staying relevant and sought after even if we’re working with a tight set of clients only.
1. Less Clients equals More Quality
It can be quite intoxicating when you’re just starting out as a freelance web designer, you’ve got that creative spark fully loaded, and you want to unload it in one form or another. You begin to haunt for as many clients as possible, thinking that you’ve got the time and skill to accomplish it all. This is a rookie mistake, and will quickly drain you out of that creative energy, leaving you unmotivated and unable to accomplish any work for extended periods of time.
Increasing your rates isn’t just about increasing the amount of cash you have coming in each month — it’s about increasing your value as a whole. By valuing your work more highly, your clients will value it more highly as well. They will respect you more. Trust you more. And at the end of the day, those are the only clients you want to be working with anyway. Now get out there. You got this. — Patrick Dodd
A good client will have zero problem with paying you the amount of money that you’re requiring/charging, if you have the ability to deliver a state of the art design in a timely manner, and the only way to do that is by being able to focus on fewer projects with more intense focus and attention.
2. Promote Your Availability
In order to be looked at as someone who is passionate and aware of his work, try to let your potential clients know how much work you’ve got stacked up in your pipeline, and when are you expecting to be available for a new project. You can do this by advertising your availability on your portfolio, on your social media streams, and also the design websites that you frequently circulate. This too, will allow you to have a more fluid relationship with potential clients.
3. Project Details First
This one can be quite daunting to new freelance web designers, you’re so eager to get on a project that you ignore the most important part (which is a huge advantage to the client), you forget to inspect the client fully and thoroughly about the project you’re about to embark on, and so miss out on acknowledging a lot of the details that will go into the project.
It can be devastating to work with clients who have got that upper hand on you, asking for modifications left and right, leaving you frustrated and unfocused. So, always remember to get the job details ironed out first, before you start to make any designs at all.
4. Your Portfolio
Is everything. It’s how majority of your clients are going to find you, and it’s how majority of your clients are going to learn about the work that you do. An exceptional portfolio is a must, not only should you display your work in a professional and fashionably manner, you should also invest time into creating a portfolio that defines who you are as a web designer, and what your true skill-set and areas of expertise are.
However, with that in mind, you should try and list only your best work, work that you are proud of, perhaps work that you’ve done for big companies and clients, something that will get other potential clients interested in you, as well as give them a sense of trust and credibility.
5. Do What the Client Says
Far too many novice freelancers think that they’ve got it all narrowed down in their heads, but in the end the client is still not happy with the end result. If you think that you’re smarter than the client you’re working for, then you’re wrong. You’re not. The client will always know best, because the client sees what he wants, and he needs it, without any altercations of any sorts coming from your perspective and point of view.
If you find yourself getting frustrated with the choices of the client, ask yourself — why is it frustrating you, and does it in fact have an impact on how much money you are going to earn, or how much longer the project is going to take to complete.
6. Get on the Trend Wagon
It’s good to have a trademark style, your clients will certainly appreciate it, but it’s also relative to stay on top of the latest designer trends, to be able to communicate and understand the needs of your newer customers who are looking to build sleek websites based on their modern research.
On top of that, designing according to the latest web design trends is going to yield you some extra points of recognition and perhaps potential word of mouth clientele in the future. It’s how this market works, so don’t be afraid to tap into its full potential.
7. Half now, Half later
The last tip we’re going to leave you with is possible one of the most essential ones, certainly the one that will motivate you the most. If you’re starting work with a new client, it’s a good idea to have this client pay upfront, at least half of what the whole project is expected to cost. Not only is this going to encourage you to stay motivated, it will allow you to build a trusting relationship with the client, perhaps allowing him to receive generous discounts in the future.
In the eyes of a good client, paying upfront is never going to be a problem, since any good client will understand the amount of work and time that goes into any single project at any given time.
Web Design Freelancers Who Want to Remain Relevant
It is a rewarding market, and it is projected that it will only continue to evolve and increase in demand as new ways of creating, building and designing things become available. Take these tips with you wherever you go, and you will come to find that freelance web design can be fun, and certainly rewarding in terms of career choices, opportunities for making money, and the ability to increase your overall skills.