The Ups and Downs of Being a Freelance Website Designer
Being a freelance website designer is challenging, exhilarating, and exhausting all at once. On any given day, you could be working on a project that excites you or struggling to find inspiration for the next one. Whether you’re just starting out as a freelancer or have been working independently for some time now, it can be difficult balancing work and personal life. The ups and downs of this career often come with the territory.
Here are some pros and cons of being a freelance website designer:
The Good Stuff
Freelance website designers get to work on a variety of projects, meet new clients, and most importantly work remotely. They’re their own bosses and can set their own hours. And best of all, the pay can be great. Being your own boss allows you to step outside of the typical 9-to-5 routine and work from anywhere.
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to set your own schedule and make your own hours, which is great for parents who want to be involved in caring for their kids. As a mom of two this has been one of the greatest benefits for me. My kids are often in and out of school with some sort of sick day or holiday, and it has been wonderful being able to flex my schedule around during those times.
There are no benefits or paid sick leave as a freelancer, but you don’t have to pay into Social Security or Medicare. You’re also exempt from paying health insurance premiums on your end.
The bad stuff
Deadline pressure can be difficult for solo website designers to handle. If you’re a designer who thrives on a busy schedule, freelancing can be a great fit for you. But if you prefer a less hectic work environment, freelancing can be a nightmare.
Freelancers have to cover their own overhead costs, like paying for equipment, and supplies (or health insurance) that employers normally cover. If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to find enough clients to make ends meet, let alone make enough to cover expenses. I went through a period of time when there was absolutely nothing in the bank. I was terrified that we’d lose the house or that we wouldn’t have money to feed the kids.
In addition to financial strains, freelancers also have to deal with the daily stresses of running a business. You’ll have to manage your own taxes, find clients, and track your time—all while staying productive.
How to combat the downsides of freelancing
When it comes to…
- Finding Clients – There are websites and forums dedicated to connecting freelancers with prospective clients. You could also reach out to your network to see if any of your former employers would be interested in continuing their relationship with you as a contractor. This is how I’ve been sustaining my business and pipeline.
- Building a Portfolio – Getting work is all about marketing yourself and building your portfolio. Start creating samples and building your portfolio as soon as you can. Once you have a decent-sized portfolio, it’ll be much easier to find clients.
- Network – Finding a co-working space or joining a local designers’ group can help you network with others and find potential clients. I personally love meeting other designers because it feels like having colleagues without having to work for the same company. They sometimes send referrals or even ask me to help with projects. You could also try out virtual networking events and online forums.
- Managing Your Time – Time management and organization skills are essential to freelancing. This means scheduling your day, setting goals and objectives, and working with a reasonable amount of time.
- Costs – As a freelancer, you’ll have to cover all of your business-related expenses. This means setting aside funds for health insurance, equipment, and supplies.
Freelancing can be a rewarding career path filled with phenomenal once in a lifetime opportunities, but it can also be challenging. To be successful as a freelancer, you’ll have to be organized, be able to manage your time, and network with prospective clients. In the end, it’s all worth it. If you love being creative, have the desire to build something long-term, and are able to manage the downsides of freelancing, this career path could be a great fit for you.