As someone who has over 20 years of experience as a freelance web designer at Studio 544, I feel that I’ve seen just about every scenario possible.
Whether it comes to dealing with clients and their web sites or the day-to-day tasks that come with the territory. I wanted to share some of those things in this post.
When starting out on your own as a freelance web designer or graphic designer, most of us already have some type of customer base in mind to get us off the ground but don’t expect to be rolling in money right away. Just like any business venture, you should be prepared by having a solid business plan, proper equipment and software and working capital. I have talked with many other freelancers over the years and most of them say the same thing when it comes to business – the “feast or famine” rule of thumb.
In the beginning, you will need to let prospective customers know that you exist and are offering the services they need. This is where advertising comes in. Many freelancers will find that advertising expenses can quickly eat up their expense budgets so it’s always wise to make sure your marketing dollars are being spent properly. Once your business is listed in any type of traditional medium (phone book, radio, printable menu, signage, etc.), be prepared for the “vultures” to start calling asking you to advertise with them.
I’ve heard it all both personally and from my customers. The best one was from a client who had actually considered advertising in the men’s urinals at a nationally known fitness club! Talk about pissing your money away!! The key here is to be smart and know your target audience. Experiment with different forms of advertising and see what works and what doesn’t.
In a perfect world, we would all know exactly what needs to be done in every situation regarding our business before things happen. In reality, you are going to be faced with lots of ups and downs with your business from difficult clients to faulty hardware and more. Just know that you are not alone and what today might seem like a catastrophe with a project could turn out to be a great learning tool for you to use when dealing with future projects and clients.
The life of a freelance web designer can be very challenging and rewarding!
This article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a professional freelance web designer but hopefully it helps answer a few questions for those of you thinking about getting into the industry. It’s a great career to be in with lots of challenges and rewards but it’s not for everybody so do your research and make sure you know what you are getting into.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Lewandowski is a freelance web designer at Studio 544 in Hutchinson, MN specializing in setting up websites for small businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations.