There are lots of web design resources out there and learning all the skills you need is not a problem anymore – everybody can do it. But some of us (or better said, most of us) encounter the same logistical problems now and then during our freelance careers. Being able to create high quality websites is not enough anymore. Freelancing is a total challenge as you also need to be able to manage yourself, your work and your problems.
Even if most people consider the motivational articles a waste of time, they actually offer solutions to problems more important than color theory, typography or web usability. The inner problems can stop freelancers from finding the right balance between work and personal life and, at some point in time, can even force them to retire or change careers.
The issue with having bad moods or difficulty getting into a working mood is that it seriously affects your results. It can make you miss deadlines, deliver poor-quality products and even break agreements before being done with them. If you are interested in being efficient, then this article is targeting you. If you don’t know how to be, then pay attention to this advice
Lack of motivation
Most of us have a goal in life. It can be a job you always dreamed of having or something that will bring you lots of money. It’s totally up to you. When you’re still going after the goal, you motivated are most of the time . However, when there is nothing more to achieve (or no more goals to achieve), lack of motivation appears very often and damages your work. Working in the same position for a long time may also be another why you lack motivation.
Let’s face it, few of us would work if we didn’t need it to survive. Sometimes it just gets boring to work, it’s highly unlikely that it you aren’t nodding your head in agreement yet. The good news is that there are many ways ways to cure a lack of motivation.
Image by DonnaGrayson.
Steve Jobs said it himself: “Stay hungry, stay foolish!” By always wanting more, there is always enough motivation. Regardless of where you are right now, always wish for more. This way you will always work in order to achieve that goal you set for yourself. You also need to find a balance between work and personal life. Having too much free time can affect your productivity while spending too much time at work can damage the relationships with your family and friends – and maybe even more importantly, your health.
Lack of clients
If you work freelance, you are most probably delivering the work and finding clients. This can be overwhelming and with no work there is no money. It is something every freelancer is afraid of, especially the ones who are inexperienced.
Some solutions could be saving money for back-up. Lack of clients might be something all of us will encounter sometime and it is very good to have some savings. Not having clients is worse than getting fired from your 9-to-5 job, because if you get fired there, you are probably entitled to some kind of financial aid; there is no such thing while you freelance (it might, however, depend on the country). Therefore always be wise and have some money for the rough periods.
Another good way of solving this problem is maintaining contact with several clients. Having your income come from only one client is dangerous, but working with more at the same time is likely to feed you for some months to come.
As I always say, when you deliver a project make sure to check on the client once or twice afterwards. Make sure you maintain a good relationship with your former clients, otherwise there is no chance you will ever get hired by them again. However, if you convince them you are more than just “the guy who designs websites”, they will even further recommend you to their clients.
Let’s face it, none of us are working machines. We provide good results based on external factors (skills) and internal ones (inner behaviour, trust, confidence, motivation etc). Both are important. If we have problems at home, how will we be able to focus on work? Our relatives and friends have a huge influence on us and one of them being sick or going through other difficulties is surely going to damage your motivation and self-belief. Any issue you have at home will affect your work life more or less.
I know it is something very difficult to work with, but making a clear difference between personal life and work will solve these issues in the end. However, this is not something you will achieve very easily. It might as well be the most difficult problem you will encounter during your freelance career. While clients and motivation come and go, family problems usually just come and will only disappear after long periods of time.
Image by auroneurotica photo.
Talking to your family about your work might help. Letting them understand what you do and why you spend so much time on even small projects, but also telling them that their behaviour affects yours and the monthly income will probably solve the problems you have. By trying to show you are the busy boss you will not solve too much – but you will do it by talking. Communication is important in today’s reality.
Fights with bosses
Although not all of us have a boss on paper, all of us have one, even freelancers. If the client is the one paying you, he is most definitely your boss. You probably won’t last long at an agency if you’re always arguing with your boss. Bosses are usually disregarded by employees, but having a good relationship with them will help you along the way. Web design agencies work usually as a team and having a weak link in your team will decrease the chances of success.
Sometimes it might be just too difficult to agree with your boss. Most of the time in this case it is easier to just try following their advice – even if it is something you do not agree with. In the end, you can always hold them responsible for your poor work if they just push ideas down your throat.
I, however, prefer to use dialogue. I always prefer to communicate before making any major decision. And most of the time there is a reason behind someone being my boss – so I respect that. Remaining frustrated is never going to solve your disputes with your bosses, so try to free yourself and follow his advice. And let’s face it, it’s never nice to have a boss who wants to take revenge on you for something.
We all encounter, at some point in time, the so-called “client from hell”. People who only know the basics at best and think they know better than us – this is when we start calling them clients from hell – when they think they know better.
Image by Filippo Venturi.
It is very difficult to work with them because they will do everything to convince you they know better. And while they pay, there is not very much you can do other than try to discuss things with them. Some of them can even get aggressive and instead of just giving some feedback, actually force you to do something. It is very difficult to maintain a good relationship with this kind of client. Although some say communication works, I doubt it. These people are not willing to listen. They just want a product, know how they want it to be and that’s it.
In my opinion not dealing with this type of client at all is the way to go. When you feel one of your potential clients might be a difficult one to work with, just avoid him. It might sound weird – we are all designers and look for work, but we need to avoid these guys. Well yes, it is weird and it shouldn’t be like that, but think that some of them don’t even pay. Some of then will knock your moral down to the ground. After working with two or three of those, you will need a break. It is not worth it. Drop them and move on!
Bonus: lack of inspiration - a whole article about it.
Freelancing is something very challenging and now and then you will encounter these difficulties, but the quicker you get past them, the quicker you will be able to get back to work and earn some money. As said earlier, all these motivational articles are good for you and your work process in general, although in the beginning they might seem like a waste of time. If you find yourself surrounded by all these kinds of problems, it is best to even spend some money and buy books about how to solve them – there are hundreds of them out there and they can’t do any harm.
Until next time… which of these problems do you encounter most? How do you solve them?
Christian Vasile is an enthuziastic Romanian web designer currently living in Denmark. He is passionate for the industry and writes about design, usability, coding and freelancing and is a regular publisher here at 1WD. You can follow him on Twitter at @christianvasile or visit his web portfolio by clicking on the link above.