10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Become a Freelance Web Designer

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design2 years ago • Written by 53 Comments

There are literally hundreds of reasons why you should become a freelance web designer, and three of the best reasons are financial freedom, creative freedom, and you can work just about anywhere you want to.

But let me tell you why it’s a bad idea.

You probably have hundreds of reasons to hate your current job.

Maybe you call in sick occasionally because you just need that extra day off more than you need the money they pay you.

Or perhaps you’ve been delaying that request from a friend from two weeks ago?

Simple reasons, big consequences.

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Become a Freelance Web Designer

I can cite 100 reasons why you shouldn’t become a freelance web designer, but no one would actually read that list, right? So, here are the top reasons why you shouldn’t be a freelance web designer. For now, at least!

Your goal is to answer NO!

1. You are indecisive most of the time.

An office mate once asked you to take the lead on the company party, set it all up and bring it to life, and you managed to pause for over a minute without talking, when you should have simply said “Let me think about it”, “Yes” or “No” depending on how you felt at that moment. Or maybe there was a time when you didn’t ask for a colleague’s help simply because you were shy?

Remember, if you can’t decide instantly, always say you’ll think about it and don’t pause or stare blankly at the person you’re talking to.

Now, why is this grounds for you not to become a freelance web designer?

When web designers work with clients, it’s all about how smooth communication goes for every aspect of the business. From proposing a design, down to signing of contracts or wrapping things up. A moment of hesitation can make or break your credibility, because clients want service providers who are very sure about what they’re doing.

There are a lot of “what should we do here” and “what do you think is best” questions when it comes to web design, and often you’ll need to answer almost instantly because time is of the essence. If it takes you several minutes to think of a solution, or solutions, you’ll have a hard time keeping your clients.

2. You are quick to decide on things.

Contrary to the point above, being too quick to make decision can hurt your career as well. I’m talking mostly about saying yes to every request, accepting every revision request, and basically being a slave to your client’s wishes.

You should learn to say no, or at least hold off on your decision and ask for some time to think about it.

If you are quick to agree or disagree on things, you’ll find yourself either flooded with tasks to do or with clients that leave you after one project.

Solution to 1 and 2

The best move? Think ahead. Learn from your past conversations with clients or employer, read online about what questions to expect, try to peek into the future as much as possible so that you will not be as surprised.

And when it’s totally something new to you, you can always ask for time to think about it. Much safer that way, right?

3. You think it’s easy money.

No, just no. Freelancing is not easy money, nor is it as advertised, “be your own boss”. You know what makes it harder for freelance web designers? It’s not just about satisfying prospective clients with their designs, it’s also about how they market themselves, how they manage their financials, how they outplay several thousands of active competitors, and how they make people want to get them to design for them no matter what the cost.

It’s not easy money, it’s even harder than your current job.

With your current office job you’re not actively searching for clients. Your employer also makes sure you pay enough taxes, and most likely you don’t work over 50-70 hours a week with just one full-time job.

That is totally different from freelancing, especially for freelance web designers who have to always be in the “mood” to be creative or even more challenging, putting out client fires.

To give you an idea, this is the whole process of a friend of mine when it comes to his clients:

  1. Talk about the requirements, colors, width, and other stuff.
  2. Send several wireframes/sketches (in my experience with him he sent me five different designs) and ask client to choose.
  3. Once client chooses, he starts designing in Photoshop based on the wireframe chosen.
  4. If client says he has the freedom to choose his own colors, he presents his design in different colors.
  5. Once every aspect of the design has been agreed on, that’s when the HTML/CSS conversion happens.

Mind you, this conversation happens between two people, no supervisor or manager in between. And the conversation and delivery happens in a matter of hours or less than a week from start to finish depending on how big the project is.

And that is just one aspect of it. Discussions about pricing, contract, and other non-design related stuff comes as well.

Decide, is it easy money? If you enter freelancing with that thought, you’ll be caught unawares and you’ll fail miserably hard.

4. You don’t have at least 5 web design projects you can be proud of.

I know that starting out as a web designer is already hard, but you can’t really hope to be successful if you don’t have at least five great web designs in your portfolio. It doesn’t matter if they are made from your previous job or just for the sole purpose of populating your portfolio, what matters is they can get people’s attention.

They will also serve as a testament that you’re great with what you do. You don’t buy from an online seller without good reviews, right? It works pretty much the same with web design. Clients look for people who can handle their web projects, not people who can promise great designs.

Show them what you can do!

If you have been delaying on building that dream portfolio of yours, you should altogether quit the idea of becoming a freelance web designer.

Solution:

Build your own portfolio site NOW.

Take your time, build your portfolio right now and start populating it with your great designs. Do it now and you won’t regret it!

5. You have lots of bills and no savings.

Dipping yourself into the world of freelancing is a great risk. Without the proper skills, tools, and guidance you won’t probably get any client at all for months. That is why you shouldn’t even think about freelancing if you still have financial responsibilities and you’re exhausting your monthly paycheck because of those.

If you are properly connected with the right people, you can maybe pull it off. But it’s a great risk as well, since the flow of clients isn’t always on.

Let’s say you already have the skills, the portfolio, and everything is basically in place, except for clients. Do you have a plan to find people who are looking for a web designer? It’s not everyday that people want to have a website designed, and that’s the problem.

Good thing there are many ways web designers can combat this dead end, and one of the best is by converting clients into passive income sources. We will this on 1WD in detail at a later date, so be sure to sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Anyway, entering the world of freelancing is a great risk. Trust me when I say don’t do it if you don’t have enough cash in your bank to live at least three months without any income.

Relevant titles:

6. You think web design means only Photoshop.

If you define web design as simply designing a web template using Photoshop, then you should reconsider your title, that’s just called graphic design (to stretch the term).

Being a web designer means three things:

  1. You are good at converting concepts to reality through Photoshop (or other image editing tools).
  2. You are good with converting the image file to a working HTML/CSS website.
  3. You will most likely think of becoming a web developer as well.

Okay, let’s talk about 2 and 3.

If you’re thinking of entering the world of freelance web design, you should have decent skills with HTML and CSS because this is the current standard. If you are new to this as well, I highly suggest that you start mastering them now.

A lot of web designers are limiting themselves because they only focus on Photoshop, HTML, and CSS, and can’t add functionality because they can’t code, something that will make their careers in freelancing a better experience. This is optional, of course, but if you are thinking of becoming a web developer as well, you have a bright future ahead of you.

7. You hate revisions.

You thought that being a freelancer means no boss, right? Unfortunately, that’s totally off the mark. Someone pays you to do work for them, and they’re the boss. In every web design job no one ever satisfies any client on the first design. There will always be revisions, several of them.

Let me tell you this: clients love revisions. They feel like they’re in control, like they know what they are doing. Do you have to comply? Well, if it’s against your better judgement then talk them out of it, but if you can’t, well, they’re paying!

8. You don’t like talking to people.

Being a freelance web designer is different than being a freelance writer and web developer in many senses. Freelance web developers and writers operate in a more systematic manner, while freelance web designers don’t, they operate 50% objectively and 50% subjectively.

It doesn’t go this way:

  1. Client sends his requirements
  2. You work on it
  3. You submit it
  4. Client approves or ask for revision

Reality is harder:

  1. Client sends his requirements
  2. You discuss it with said client
  3. You work on it
  4. You submit it
  5. Client asks for revision
  6. You work on it
  7. Client asks for another revision
  8. You work on it
  9. Client decides on a different route
  10. You get tired of his farce
  11. But you still work on it because you have already started
  12. You suck it up and finish the project until your client is satisfied.

This is reality. It’s full of talking, negotiating, and contemplating suicide at every revision.

9. You’re not committed to excellence.

If you can’t blow your clients away with your design, they probably won’t leave great testimonials for your service. Big clients actually look for testimonials from previous clients. Without them, you probably won’t land a big project.

Committing yourself to excellence is one way of defining yourself as a web designer. Your work should reflect your personality, so if your work is excellent and you have fantastic testimonials, new clients will assume that you’re worth working with.

If you are used to saying, “I guess it’s already okay” or “that’s good enough” then freelance web design is not for you.

Web design is art, and everything you do is a masterpiece. If you have just-okay pieces, what can people expect from you?

10. You didn’t read everything on my list.

If you didn’t read every single word of this post, you are:

  • indecisive – you opened this page to read, not to just scan and go.
  • not willing to learn – well, duh?
  • not committed to excellence – reading this post will only take 10 minutes of your time, tops.
  • thinking that freelancing is easy – you think you know everything about freelancing?

If you are seriously thinking about becoming a freelance web designer, and if you are here to learn just that, then why did you skip to the end?

If you’re one of the few who actually read and pondered these points, great! That’s the perfect attitude!

Question: Do you still want to be a freelance web designer?

If your answer to every item here is NO then by all means start freelancing ASAP!

But if you answered YES at least once then you should fix that problem before doing anything else!

114 Written ArticlesWebsiteGoogle+

Rean was the editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Rean also writes at Moneyarty.com, a blog dedicated to teaching people how to make money online.

53 Comments Best Comments First
  • Noman

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 09:52

    1

    I strongly disagree with this post!

    +22
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:07

      2

      I would love to know why!

      +1
      • Raging Bhitch

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:29

        6

        The post has a point. Of course not all applies to all but not respecting these realities will give you a bad time.

        -2
      • Noman

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:24

        4

        Because I am successful FullTime Freelance web designer. There are difficulties only if you are not good what you do or you are not careful. And if you have these flaws in oneself, then you can not even succeed in your ordinary job as well.

        +6
        • Carlos Caneja

          Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:32

          17

          you are spot on, if you have zero hustle you won’t make it anywhere other than collecting dollars for parked cars leaving the lot.

          I think the article was just trying to say that it’s not as great as it sounds, there’s also a dark side that not many people talk about.

          +7
  • Laura

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 12:36

    29

    As a freelance web designer the title of this article made me curious. I think there is a common perception that being freelance makes you accountable to no one but yourself. You quickly find out that’s not true. Keeping clients happy is a priority. You need to know how to deal with people to find and keep clients. Most of my new jobs come from referrals so I depend on having good communication skills and a friendly business relationship with all my clients.

    Thanks for the article. And I did read everything on your list!

    +10
  • Michael

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:45

    18

    I 100% agree with #5. I’ve tried to freelance, and some months it just doesn’t pay the bills. Although, that’s why you have a full-time job and freelance on the side!

    +7
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:40

      23

      Great point, Michael. I did not manage to point that out on the post, that you can actually take freelancing on the side while you have a full-time job. This is a good transition as well if you are thinking of going full-time anytime soon. Like a practice ground!

      Thanks!

      +4
  • Tim

    Sunday, February 10th, 2013 20:47

    45

    “6. You think web design means only Photoshop.”
    The contrary is also true. If you think that just because you can code clean and great HTML and CSS that you’re a web designer, think again! There are still too many sites out there that are terribly designed. Actually, I’m sorry to say that 1stwebdesigner is one of them. This site used to have a pleasing design. Now it is plain and boring with only text and ads. Not much for a “web design” site to show off here. Not sure why this site went in the direction it did, but whatever.
    Anyway, before you even think about learning how to code, you need to learn how to design. Most likely, this means design school. If not, then it means online learning/tutorials and an already developed “eye for design.”
    I’ve noticed that most web developers will choose fonts for their sites based on being HTML-friendly. Or they choose Google fonts or Typekit fonts “just because it shows off their ability to add different fonts to their sites.” The use of fonts should be determined by the design. If a particular font cannot be made web-friendly because the design would suffer, then for Pete’s sake, DON’T try to find a font that you can cram into that spot. Use the font that looks the best. Web designers (not just a web developer) will choose the correct fonts for the site, even if that means making them into images.
    It’s things like that that separate designers from developers. While SEO should be taken into consideration, SEO should not be at the top of your list when designing a site. Creating the best end product should be.

    +5
  • Isuru

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:31

    7

    #3 is my favorite point. I can relate to that. I thought freelancing would be a walk in the park. About one month after I started freelancing, I got a day job as well. Balancing both is hell a lot of work. I have 2 projects to finish up within the next couple of weeks. I’ve been sleeping only 4 hours a day. Haven’t gone for any outings in 2 weeks. Its pretty tough. But I still like it. No pain, no gain, right?

    +4
    • ColorWP

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:26

      12

      Don’t forget the extra money from working on both projects. It can be quite satisfactory in the end when you retire at 25. ;)

      -1
      • Rean John Uehara

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:42

        24

        And be sure to indulge yourself once in a while, right? Nothing beats having a gallon of ice cream just for yourself. Yum!

        +1
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:01

      10

      Hi Isuru!

      No pain, no gain, true, but you can minimize the pain by being prepared!
      I can relate to that, I thought freelancing was easy as well. Work comes in, I finish it, I get money. It’s a scary world out there and competitors are eating each other alive!

      Uh oh, only 4 hours a day? Tough, but I know you’ll get through it! You seem to have the dedication to complete everything.

      In case you missed it, I highly suggest reading this: 10 Best Kept Secrets To Become More Creative By Boosting Your Brainpower to keep your mind and body balanced even when under pressure!

      Good luck with work, and don’t forget to sleep as much as possible after finishing every projects you have right now, it’s important!

      Thanks!

      0
      • Isuru

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:22

        15

        I frequently check 1WD. I have seen James’ article too. :) Its actually not my fault(for the most part, there were a couple of delays from my side too ’cause I’ve been preparing this final year project) but clients keep postponing meetings, not providing content on time, not responding to email and all so all the work just stacked up.

        Thank you. hopefully things will clear up by the end of this month and I’d have some free time to work on a couple of pet projects I have in mind and catch up with new JS and CSS. :)

        +1
  • Carlos Caneja

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:27

    16

    Freelancing sounds great because “you can be your own boss” but the truth is that every client becomes your boss . The advantage is that once when you get up on your own feet you get to “fire” your own boss if you want or you are in a position where you can. This doesn’t mean tell your client “go screw yourself or I’m outta here ass***”. Always let clients go a on a positive note, most of them actually enjoy working with you and keep you around because you deliver what they want. Bottom line try not to burn a bridge. I always try to say things like “I have a huge project I was just awarded and I will no longer be able to handle your account”.
    You have to have thick skin to be a freelancer and have hustle in your DNA if not you are going to fail fast. It’s not the type of work where you sit around and wait for work to come to you. You have to go get it.
    This article hits great key points that others don’t tell you about and if you are looking to make this sort of jump in your career. You need to look at both sides and not just the positives.

    There is one thing this article does not touch on and I think it’s key to the whole freelancing lifestyle. Yes, there are dark and cloudy days but there is also another side, the “I scored an awesome account” or “I just got amazing results or did amazing work for my client”. This is a type of sunny day like you’ve never seen before.

    P.S. You’ll love tax season :)

    +2
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:38

      22

      Hi Carlos!

      True. You can haul your ass off any project that you gravely dislike, but do it in a peaceful and professional manner. Because these people have connections, and they will refer anyone who has given them the best experience — whether it’s completion of a project or of how you two communicated.

      The key to locking in on clients, at least for the first few months or first year, is to actively seek them. Learn internet marketing, be thick skinned and contact everyone, ask for recommendations, and be generally awesome about what you do.

      Regarding freelancing lifestyle, we can definitely talk about that at length in the future. Thanks for pointing that. :)

      Tax season – “you thought you were safe from it, huh? Take care of it yourself.”

      Thanks!!

      +2
  • Earl Varona

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 16:36

    25

    Great list! I like #3 (‘You think it’s easy money’) because people that doesn’t freelance often think this. Also, being in creative field, you just don’t turn creativity on and off whenever you want (I wish I can though). Your point is very valid that a designer needs to be in the ‘mood’ to be creative. Freelancing is definitely much harder than a 9-5 job but it is also very rewarding and it gives you a great room to grow and potentially make so much more in the future — and that’s why I’m doing it. Thanks for the great post! :)

    +1
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 04:51

      34

      Hi Earl!

      You know what, I was guilty of #3. I really thought that if I started freelance writing, I’ll earn tons of money each month. Turns out I was only too focused on the success stories of freelancers — which is a trap — everyone should also look for the negative side of things (which I learned the hard way!).

      “…very rewarding and it gives you a great room to grow…” very true! This is what keeps freelancers from leaving their trade, actually. It’s a wide world out there and you will need every room available to grow.

      Thanks!

      0
  • kcube

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 14:05

    39

    haha….Totally agreed. people think its easy money being a freelance but the truth is its not.

    +1
  • Daniel

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:07

    14

    Well, I still have to solve couple of issues, but the answer is YES! I definitely want to be a freelance web designer! I know what to really expect, I’m quite prepared for this. As for the clients, well, they are forcing me to become a web designer! They need me! Even if some of them are outright pain in the ass, I think it depends on me to select them. If I don’t like your face, I will not design for you! Period!

    +1
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:27

      21

      Hi Daniel!

      That’s the spirit! One big factor involved with people who fail is the lack of passion. The first few months are tough while you’re still crawling your way, setting things up. If you quit right then and there you won’t discover the magnificent world of freelancing (although this post made it scary!).

      Truth is, you can make any client into friends, no matter how unlikeable they appear to you. This is important, especially if it’s your first client (or first dozen). You need to give an amazing impression, impress them with your work, and befriend them. This is networking, something that will be of great benefit to you in the future. If a client has been hard on you and yet you fulfilled his/her requests and satisfied them, they will remember, and they will be grateful to you and will never forget what you did. :)

      Good luck! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so that we can notify you whenever a new post is published. :)

      Thanks!

      0
  • Kimmy

    Thursday, February 14th, 2013 04:36

    48

    Thanks for sharing, but I still want to be a designer !!!

    +1
  • Luison

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:29

    5

    I definitely have to fix a couple of issues, but i really thank you for telling me the truth. I about to become a freelance web designer, or at least I want to, and I appreciate someone saying this ten points. I would probably read the “100 reasons” aswell.
    Thanks again. Really helpful and inspiring.
    I already knew about point 7…
    …and yes, I still want to be a designer. ;)

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:55

      9

      Hi Luison!

      I will consider writing 100 reasons! The thing about becoming a freelancer is that it is an entirely new world. No will push you whenever you are feeling down or lost, it’s entirely your responsibility. That is why you need to be prepared as much as possible, know the problems beginning freelancers are experiencing, and how they overcame those problems. If you have passion with what you do, that’s only 50% of it, but it’s very important because that is the thing that will keep you on going!

      Good luck with your chosen career!

      0
  • ColorWP

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:11

    3

    I would like to put extra stress on point 8 from the list, because it is very correct in reality. On many occasions you will be asked for a quick Skype or real-life interview where you must prove that your skills are worthy of the rate you ask for the project. This brings me to these very important things you missed in the article:

    11. Improve your English – since most of your clients will probably be English-speaking, it is worth every penny you invest in improving your written and spoken English.
    12. Invest in your wardrobe – no matter how good a programmer you are, if you go to a business meeting or a project negotiation – you won’t go far dressed in your shorts. It is true that freelancers have the freedom to do whatever they like and dress however you like (you may even work in your pajamas at home), but don’t enforce it to your clients. It’s just not good professional etiquette.

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:51

      8

      Thanks for the tips! When it comes to improving your English, it should also mean that you need to appear confident at all times. Nothing ends a deal faster than stuttering or sweating the whole time because your English is not good enough. This is why you should try to take a look at the future as much as possible.

      Regarding your wardrobe..don’t overdo it, though. Always go for the perfect fit, it works wonders!

      0
  • Mike

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:57

    13

    Thanks for the article.

    I am hoping to set up as a freelancer in the near future. Although nothing surprising in your points, it was a good, factual read and will better prepare for my career no doubt. A lot is common sense too.
    I can relate intimately with point 9. I am always thinking of how to better a design, I never seem to be completely satisfied with a project result. I have always been self analytical of my projects, but when the client is happy I can put it to experience and learn for the next project to do better, hopefully.

    -Mike

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:21

      20

      Hi Mike!

      Once in a while it is important to tell people things again even if they know it already, just to be sure that they’re still in check. Like confirming if they are still on the right track, helps a lot since people will know it’s not just them thinking about it, that there are hundreds or thousands of people thinking about the same thing. Confidence boost!

      I remember this quote from someone famous (shame I forgot who!), says:

      “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

      And I think you’re on the right track! Nothing is ever finished, you only abandon them and wish that a lot of people will be satisfied by it. When another project comes, you can then apply new things that can make you feel better about your work.

      Thanks Mike! Good luck with your career! :)

      0
  • Ian Belanger

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:08

    11

    Hey Rean,

    Excellent post!

    As someone who has been a freelance web designer/developer for the past 4+ years, I couldn’t agree more. You are right on the money with all of your points.

    #3 & #7 really hit home for me. I have not been “My Own Boss” since I started taking on clients. They are truly your boss, because they pay the bills. But, I will say this, I believe that earning money as a freelancer has been much more satisfying than earning money at a regular job and believe me, I have had quite a few regular jobs. Why? Because of the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a tough job and the client is praising your work to all of their friends. That my friends is a great feeling!

    I love this statement: “It’s not just about satisfying prospective clients with their designs, it’s also about how they market themselves, how they manage their financials, how they outplay several thousands of active competitors” because it is so true.

    Becoming a truly talented and successful freelance web designer takes an understanding of more than just design and coding. You have to have knowledge of marketing online(which ranges from email marketing to website color choices and sooo much more), seo and business in general as well. That is, if you want repeat business.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the post!

    Thanks,
    Ian

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:15

      19

      Hi Ian!

      The idea of becoming a freelancer so that you’ll have more time for yourself is just ridiculous. First, you’re not your own boss and you do not work just whenever you want to. Throughout anyone’s freelancing career several bosses will make life hard and miserable, but knowing that you did your best (excellence!) and being commended by it surely gives extra energy, right?

      Unlike in a company setting, every work you do as a freelancer is a permanent footprint that anyone can see and review. Whatever you build from when you began up to now will be subject to public viewing and you don’t want anyone to say, “mm, not good enough”!

      Becoming a truly talented and successful freelance web designer takes an understanding of more than just design and coding. You have to have knowledge of marketing online(which ranges from email marketing to website color choices and sooo much more), seo and business in general as well. That is, if you want repeat business.”

      Very true. Knowing how to code and design is one thing, sure that will get you clients, but you will be limiting yourself! That’s why internet marketing and learning how businesses work is crucial, thanks for pointing that out. :)

      Thanks for reading, I enjoyed your comment!

      0
  • Paloma Dias

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 02:54

    27

    I am totally agreed with your #3 point in which you mention about the money factor. As a freelancer I understand this point pretty much. I like you views, they are really good.

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 04:59

      36

      Hi Paloma!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      #3 is a common misunderstanding, right? And once you have begun your freelancing career the first few months will define if you have what it takes or not, if you need more financial security or risk it all just to become an awesome freelancer.

      Thanks! Good luck on your career!

      0
  • Maim

    Thursday, March 7th, 2013 04:49

    51

    this has happened to me :) that’s why i don’t accept freelance anymore

    0
  • Steven Noble

    Saturday, February 9th, 2013 14:08

    43

    I spent quite a lot of time freelancing, and it does feel much better than the average 9-5 job (Even though mine is 9-6). The only downside was finding the clients, and then inside of weeding out the clients who wanted to pay peanuts. However the clients I did manage to pick up were great, they trusted my decisions and I had a lot of freedom on projects because of my past positive work and referrals. I worked when I liked and managed to keep up with deadlines so it wasn’t so bad. The biggest problem though is showing your worth to potential clients as they see people charge a little over £2 per hour (less than half the minimum wage here) and expect you to work for the same. A number of times I’ve had dropped clients return to me, asking me to fix the terrible job the previous person did and the reply I usually get.. “I wish I had chosen you first!”

    Everything else you’ve mentioned I’m great with, good article!

    0
  • Jerome

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 17:19

    26

    I whole heartily agree. As for your question; “Do you still want to be a freelance web designer?”
    I am one and I find myself in constant flux of staying up on the latest in web design and development.
    I soon as you learn one thing in comes another. I offend find myself serving my clients and solving their problems than designing. In most cases it’s not until my task are completed and trust as been establish that I’m able to truly design for them. Nevertheless, over the years 10+ I learned to provide the type of customer service that matches my skills. That’s the reward for me.

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 04:56

      35

      Hi Jerome!

      It’s really hard when several little tasks get in the way of designing. How about outsourcing troubleshooting? As Dainis said a while back, “do the thing you’re best at and outsource everything.” You’ll be giving yourself enough room to do what you’re good at and what you enjoy best while solving your clients’ problems. And in turn, you’ll probably get more time for more projects, more money!

      And ten years? Wow! We’d really love to hear some tips from you on how to stay being a freelancer for that long. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      0
      • Jerome

        Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 15:25

        41

        Hi Rean,

        Thank you for your response. I do apologize for the typos (I soon = As soon, offend = often). The great thing about today verses 10 years ago, there are so many designers and a sea of resources. Yes, I do outsource. I built several resource reference libraries – outsource is one of them under O :) and I keep a daily log.

        Once again I must say you hit the nail on the head with this article.

        To #4 of your article. I would like to humbly add.

        1 A portfolio is a visual reputation of your confidence.

        2 Confidence without a well laid out portfolio is nothing more than entertainment. Who doesn’t love a good story?

        3 The portfolio beats the 60 sec elevator pitch by far.

        4 A picture speaks a thousands words. One of the greatest compliments given to me is: ” Wow! Do you have a number where I can reach you?” This is a lovely request for your business card. I don’t voluntarily give it out.

        Good reading: Portfolio Designs by Design Shack #6 http://www.Designshack.net

        Note: Strangers have a purpose. In most cases they’ll tell you the truth by saying nothing. Friends and family are kind (most of the time). Its better to have the quality of your work judged by strangers. Design, Wait, and Let people get excited. Never ask that evasive question: What do you think? UGH! Now you asked me to lie. Because you thinks its great. Noooooooo!

        To #6 of your article. I would like to humbly add.

        Love this one! This also applies to Graphic Designers. (Smiling) So you thought Photoshop was all you had to know? Graphic Designer = Web Designer Oh how we’ve grown.

        My Tips in short.

        When you begin #4 is gospel. Take two years set up your finances, build your portfolio, library and educate yourself via books, sites like this one, test and certificates/degrees. Build your home studio for receiving clients (Not in your home). If you can get a separate phone line do it. Client’s have a habit of calling anytime they get an idea. Especially, the no idea clients until I see your idea types.

        Write it down, Write it down! The better you are the more problems you will have with You said, I said . So write it down and send the client a copy. Who said what and what was agreed! It does not have to be long just clearly noted.

        Lastly, get a deposit first! When you’re ready, you’ll be looking for customers like a one year marital art student looking for thugs and dark allies. So don’t be a throw me a bone freelancer, it’s not what you want to be. Or is it? Our confidence and skills should get us paid for our abilities. As a freelancer a clients deposit is their promise to us that they are not wasting our time and are serious. Everyone else, take their email, send them monthly sales and from time to time – examples of your work.

        Thank you for the platform Rean (Asian Bow)

        +1
  • Paul D. Mitchell

    Saturday, February 9th, 2013 13:23

    42

    Web design is often an appealing career choice for artistic and creative people. It’s seen as a potentially lucrative opportunity to be creative on a daily basis. But there are drawbacks that many people don’t realize going into the field. While most of these wouldn’t deter people who really want to be designers and who know what design is really about, they might deter people who are only looking for a job that allows them to be artistic or creative. Even if they’re not a deterrent, they should at least serve as an eye-opener for anyone looking to become a Web designer.

    0
  • Wendy

    Saturday, February 9th, 2013 23:50

    44

    Great Advice!! Bookmarked a few of those links, made great notes and addicted as always to the next article.
    Thanks-Wendy

    0
    • Tim

      Sunday, February 10th, 2013 20:48

      46

      Which links did you bookmark? I didn’t see any in the article.

      0
  • Kristinakathy

    Monday, March 4th, 2013 00:54

    50

    After reading this article I got little bit scared but I love to earn money. So I continue my job with freelancing web designing. Nice job buddy.

    0
  • Jenna

    Friday, June 14th, 2013 21:01

    52

    Lol. I read “You get tired of his farce” as “You get tired of his FACE”, which I do sometimes feel. xD

    0
  • Anna

    Friday, March 1st, 2013 04:44

    49

    Hey there, that’s honestly a really good list. Though it’s easy for me to say so, I read it through to the end :-D But then again, I already am a freelancer.
    Besides: Great website, there’s so much here, you’ll see me around more often now! Thanks for sharing!

    0
  • Diwyanshu Tomar

    Monday, February 11th, 2013 23:18

    47

    HI REAN,

    I totally agree with you.
    #1 to # 10 all are a must points to take care of.I am a complete novice into the field of Web Designing .Well as a new entrant , i would rather say to go for full time job, as you will be face to face with new platforms and developments standards into Web designing as well as development .

    Just a day or two back i have completed the book about HTML AND CSS, although i am familiar with coding as i am a graduate in Computer Engineering, but my passion inclines me more towards Designing .

    #4 and #6 are a must for a person seeking a promising Future in Web Designing .

    ONE has to have a good portfolio under his/her belt to go with Freelance We designing , even for the regular job, it helps a great deal ,if you have atleast few projects to go with.
    Recently, i gave an interview , company mainly delas with building e-commerce websites.Skill requirement was for designing layouts with Photoshop and conversion to HTML/CSS.

    i thought i fared well, but the outcome didn’t account in my favor .It was a sad day ,but its fine now…
    SO what i want to depict here is , as a beginner or as a sophomore ,,one has to have a Portfolio with Quality.
    IF i had it on my interview day, it would have made all the difference .

    Now,i am just working keenly ,on building my portfolio and focusing on Layouts and CSS.

    As you guys are experienced and well versed with most aspects of development and design ,do advice me on some important points to go by:

    1. I know photoshop for around two years for now..but take me of an intermediate skill leveler at this point
    2. My skills with HTML are all fine , but if i talk about CSS and layout then am just a beginner and needs to learn a lot.
    3. Practical Skills are needs to brush up at all grounds.
    4.Please advice while i working on with layouts (Photoshop) and CSS,i want to go with one of the web development tools as well. Will Dreamweaver is all fine or would it be better if i just work with editors such as notepad++ and improve on with my designing skills and CSS.

    Also please suggest , how to pursue with WORDPRESS .

    In all , one more thing i would like to add as a viewer , Your website rightly suits the purpose of discussion and making things easier and better in this wonderful field of WEB.

    i am very well aware , that my comment is totally Different from the discussion of Freelancing , but your points are worth of Notice and to take in accounts while working on projects ,either regular (9-6) or as a FREELANCER.
    THANK YOU
    for providing such a nice platform for all newbies as well.

    PS: DO REPLY :)

    0
  • Peterborough Design

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 22:34

    40

    It’s definitely a tough way to make a living at the start as you don’t have any guaranteed work coming in every month. But if you live in a larger city and can get your name out there, eventually you should be okay.

    0
  • James

    Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 04:31

    53

    Great read! I am already a freelance graphics designer and planning to venture into web designing.
    Your article title really caught my attention.

    Thanks for sharing!

    0
  • Sanjay

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 00:11

    31

    I think most of us starts from here and as we get more clients we mature on the job and get better. Freelancing is not a paradise, so be warned. It’ll be great if you can do freelance while you have a 9-5 job, that will secure your bills and mortgage. In the end, being able to learn a lot of things and wear a lot of hats is what makes freelance a cool job.

    0
    • Ngo Khong

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 00:43

      33

      Agree with you. I’m freelancing now, but I still have 1 stable job. It makes me feel better and I’m sure for my future. If I do only freelance jobs, with my personality (laziness, improvisation, non-consistency, etc.), my bills maybe not paid soon.

      Although, I still love freelancing. I think this post give some positive points as a warning to freelancers, but if they really love web design and be consistent, they can success.

      0
  • Martha

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 22:51

    30

    Thanks for this post. I, too, have been pondering over the probability of becoming a paid freelancer (I have done some work gratis). Since I have a few other irons in the fire, your points are a good checklist for me when I finally decide what I want to do when I grow up!

    0
  • Anele Ivanova

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 08:43

    28

    Hi,

    Recently I came across some great articles on your site.
    The other day, I was discussing (http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/reasons-not-become-freelance-web-designer/)with my colleagues and they suggested I submit an article of my own. Your site is just perfect for what I have written!
    Would it be ok to submit the article? It is free of charge, of course!

    Let me know what you think
    Contact me at [email protected]

    Regards
    Anele Ivanova

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 05:00

      37

      Hi Anele,

      We’d love to hear from you. You can contact us via the contact form and pitch in your idea. :)

      We can have a lengthy chat on Skype as well, just add me: Ueharataichou

      Looking forward to hearing from you!

      0
  • Nicole B.

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 19:35

    32

    Thank you for helping me make my mind up!…to hell with this freelance web designing…I’m off to find a job with security where I can work less hours…have a steady check and have time to go to sleep before 12 am…I love this field of work, but you are right freelancing is no joke…if I sleep so does my business and with kids…I have no time to give myself that “don’t give up on your dreams” speech every 2 days…. THANKS! this was a God send!

    0
  • Lucidtutorial

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 07:22

    38

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful article.I think not only web Designer but also every Designer must have to know Photoshop very well. Become a freelance web designer you should know English.

    -1
  • James

    Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 04:31

    53

    Great read! I am already a freelance graphics designer and planning to venture into web designing.
    Your article title really caught my attention.

    Thanks for sharing!

    0
  • Jenna

    Friday, June 14th, 2013 21:01

    52

    Lol. I read “You get tired of his farce” as “You get tired of his FACE”, which I do sometimes feel. xD

    0
  • Maim

    Thursday, March 7th, 2013 04:49

    51

    this has happened to me :) that’s why i don’t accept freelance anymore

    0
  • Kristinakathy

    Monday, March 4th, 2013 00:54

    50

    After reading this article I got little bit scared but I love to earn money. So I continue my job with freelancing web designing. Nice job buddy.

    0
  • Anna

    Friday, March 1st, 2013 04:44

    49

    Hey there, that’s honestly a really good list. Though it’s easy for me to say so, I read it through to the end :-D But then again, I already am a freelancer.
    Besides: Great website, there’s so much here, you’ll see me around more often now! Thanks for sharing!

    0
  • Kimmy

    Thursday, February 14th, 2013 04:36

    48

    Thanks for sharing, but I still want to be a designer !!!

    +1
  • Diwyanshu Tomar

    Monday, February 11th, 2013 23:18

    47

    HI REAN,

    I totally agree with you.
    #1 to # 10 all are a must points to take care of.I am a complete novice into the field of Web Designing .Well as a new entrant , i would rather say to go for full time job, as you will be face to face with new platforms and developments standards into Web designing as well as development .

    Just a day or two back i have completed the book about HTML AND CSS, although i am familiar with coding as i am a graduate in Computer Engineering, but my passion inclines me more towards Designing .

    #4 and #6 are a must for a person seeking a promising Future in Web Designing .

    ONE has to have a good portfolio under his/her belt to go with Freelance We designing , even for the regular job, it helps a great deal ,if you have atleast few projects to go with.
    Recently, i gave an interview , company mainly delas with building e-commerce websites.Skill requirement was for designing layouts with Photoshop and conversion to HTML/CSS.

    i thought i fared well, but the outcome didn’t account in my favor .It was a sad day ,but its fine now…
    SO what i want to depict here is , as a beginner or as a sophomore ,,one has to have a Portfolio with Quality.
    IF i had it on my interview day, it would have made all the difference .

    Now,i am just working keenly ,on building my portfolio and focusing on Layouts and CSS.

    As you guys are experienced and well versed with most aspects of development and design ,do advice me on some important points to go by:

    1. I know photoshop for around two years for now..but take me of an intermediate skill leveler at this point
    2. My skills with HTML are all fine , but if i talk about CSS and layout then am just a beginner and needs to learn a lot.
    3. Practical Skills are needs to brush up at all grounds.
    4.Please advice while i working on with layouts (Photoshop) and CSS,i want to go with one of the web development tools as well. Will Dreamweaver is all fine or would it be better if i just work with editors such as notepad++ and improve on with my designing skills and CSS.

    Also please suggest , how to pursue with WORDPRESS .

    In all , one more thing i would like to add as a viewer , Your website rightly suits the purpose of discussion and making things easier and better in this wonderful field of WEB.

    i am very well aware , that my comment is totally Different from the discussion of Freelancing , but your points are worth of Notice and to take in accounts while working on projects ,either regular (9-6) or as a FREELANCER.
    THANK YOU
    for providing such a nice platform for all newbies as well.

    PS: DO REPLY :)

    0
  • Tim

    Sunday, February 10th, 2013 20:47

    45

    “6. You think web design means only Photoshop.”
    The contrary is also true. If you think that just because you can code clean and great HTML and CSS that you’re a web designer, think again! There are still too many sites out there that are terribly designed. Actually, I’m sorry to say that 1stwebdesigner is one of them. This site used to have a pleasing design. Now it is plain and boring with only text and ads. Not much for a “web design” site to show off here. Not sure why this site went in the direction it did, but whatever.
    Anyway, before you even think about learning how to code, you need to learn how to design. Most likely, this means design school. If not, then it means online learning/tutorials and an already developed “eye for design.”
    I’ve noticed that most web developers will choose fonts for their sites based on being HTML-friendly. Or they choose Google fonts or Typekit fonts “just because it shows off their ability to add different fonts to their sites.” The use of fonts should be determined by the design. If a particular font cannot be made web-friendly because the design would suffer, then for Pete’s sake, DON’T try to find a font that you can cram into that spot. Use the font that looks the best. Web designers (not just a web developer) will choose the correct fonts for the site, even if that means making them into images.
    It’s things like that that separate designers from developers. While SEO should be taken into consideration, SEO should not be at the top of your list when designing a site. Creating the best end product should be.

    +5
  • Wendy

    Saturday, February 9th, 2013 23:50

    44

    Great Advice!! Bookmarked a few of those links, made great notes and addicted as always to the next article.
    Thanks-Wendy

    0
    • Tim

      Sunday, February 10th, 2013 20:48

      46

      Which links did you bookmark? I didn’t see any in the article.

      0
  • Steven Noble

    Saturday, February 9th, 2013 14:08

    43

    I spent quite a lot of time freelancing, and it does feel much better than the average 9-5 job (Even though mine is 9-6). The only downside was finding the clients, and then inside of weeding out the clients who wanted to pay peanuts. However the clients I did manage to pick up were great, they trusted my decisions and I had a lot of freedom on projects because of my past positive work and referrals. I worked when I liked and managed to keep up with deadlines so it wasn’t so bad. The biggest problem though is showing your worth to potential clients as they see people charge a little over £2 per hour (less than half the minimum wage here) and expect you to work for the same. A number of times I’ve had dropped clients return to me, asking me to fix the terrible job the previous person did and the reply I usually get.. “I wish I had chosen you first!”

    Everything else you’ve mentioned I’m great with, good article!

    0
  • Paul D. Mitchell

    Saturday, February 9th, 2013 13:23

    42

    Web design is often an appealing career choice for artistic and creative people. It’s seen as a potentially lucrative opportunity to be creative on a daily basis. But there are drawbacks that many people don’t realize going into the field. While most of these wouldn’t deter people who really want to be designers and who know what design is really about, they might deter people who are only looking for a job that allows them to be artistic or creative. Even if they’re not a deterrent, they should at least serve as an eye-opener for anyone looking to become a Web designer.

    0
  • Peterborough Design

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 22:34

    40

    It’s definitely a tough way to make a living at the start as you don’t have any guaranteed work coming in every month. But if you live in a larger city and can get your name out there, eventually you should be okay.

    0
  • kcube

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 14:05

    39

    haha….Totally agreed. people think its easy money being a freelance but the truth is its not.

    +1
  • Lucidtutorial

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 07:22

    38

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful article.I think not only web Designer but also every Designer must have to know Photoshop very well. Become a freelance web designer you should know English.

    -1
  • Nicole B.

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 19:35

    32

    Thank you for helping me make my mind up!…to hell with this freelance web designing…I’m off to find a job with security where I can work less hours…have a steady check and have time to go to sleep before 12 am…I love this field of work, but you are right freelancing is no joke…if I sleep so does my business and with kids…I have no time to give myself that “don’t give up on your dreams” speech every 2 days…. THANKS! this was a God send!

    0
  • Sanjay

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 00:11

    31

    I think most of us starts from here and as we get more clients we mature on the job and get better. Freelancing is not a paradise, so be warned. It’ll be great if you can do freelance while you have a 9-5 job, that will secure your bills and mortgage. In the end, being able to learn a lot of things and wear a lot of hats is what makes freelance a cool job.

    0
    • Ngo Khong

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 00:43

      33

      Agree with you. I’m freelancing now, but I still have 1 stable job. It makes me feel better and I’m sure for my future. If I do only freelance jobs, with my personality (laziness, improvisation, non-consistency, etc.), my bills maybe not paid soon.

      Although, I still love freelancing. I think this post give some positive points as a warning to freelancers, but if they really love web design and be consistent, they can success.

      0
  • Martha

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 22:51

    30

    Thanks for this post. I, too, have been pondering over the probability of becoming a paid freelancer (I have done some work gratis). Since I have a few other irons in the fire, your points are a good checklist for me when I finally decide what I want to do when I grow up!

    0
  • Laura

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 12:36

    29

    As a freelance web designer the title of this article made me curious. I think there is a common perception that being freelance makes you accountable to no one but yourself. You quickly find out that’s not true. Keeping clients happy is a priority. You need to know how to deal with people to find and keep clients. Most of my new jobs come from referrals so I depend on having good communication skills and a friendly business relationship with all my clients.

    Thanks for the article. And I did read everything on your list!

    +10
  • Anele Ivanova

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 08:43

    28

    Hi,

    Recently I came across some great articles on your site.
    The other day, I was discussing (http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/reasons-not-become-freelance-web-designer/)with my colleagues and they suggested I submit an article of my own. Your site is just perfect for what I have written!
    Would it be ok to submit the article? It is free of charge, of course!

    Let me know what you think
    Contact me at [email protected]

    Regards
    Anele Ivanova

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 05:00

      37

      Hi Anele,

      We’d love to hear from you. You can contact us via the contact form and pitch in your idea. :)

      We can have a lengthy chat on Skype as well, just add me: Ueharataichou

      Looking forward to hearing from you!

      0
  • Paloma Dias

    Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 02:54

    27

    I am totally agreed with your #3 point in which you mention about the money factor. As a freelancer I understand this point pretty much. I like you views, they are really good.

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 04:59

      36

      Hi Paloma!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      #3 is a common misunderstanding, right? And once you have begun your freelancing career the first few months will define if you have what it takes or not, if you need more financial security or risk it all just to become an awesome freelancer.

      Thanks! Good luck on your career!

      0
  • Jerome

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 17:19

    26

    I whole heartily agree. As for your question; “Do you still want to be a freelance web designer?”
    I am one and I find myself in constant flux of staying up on the latest in web design and development.
    I soon as you learn one thing in comes another. I offend find myself serving my clients and solving their problems than designing. In most cases it’s not until my task are completed and trust as been establish that I’m able to truly design for them. Nevertheless, over the years 10+ I learned to provide the type of customer service that matches my skills. That’s the reward for me.

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 04:56

      35

      Hi Jerome!

      It’s really hard when several little tasks get in the way of designing. How about outsourcing troubleshooting? As Dainis said a while back, “do the thing you’re best at and outsource everything.” You’ll be giving yourself enough room to do what you’re good at and what you enjoy best while solving your clients’ problems. And in turn, you’ll probably get more time for more projects, more money!

      And ten years? Wow! We’d really love to hear some tips from you on how to stay being a freelancer for that long. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      0
      • Jerome

        Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 15:25

        41

        Hi Rean,

        Thank you for your response. I do apologize for the typos (I soon = As soon, offend = often). The great thing about today verses 10 years ago, there are so many designers and a sea of resources. Yes, I do outsource. I built several resource reference libraries – outsource is one of them under O :) and I keep a daily log.

        Once again I must say you hit the nail on the head with this article.

        To #4 of your article. I would like to humbly add.

        1 A portfolio is a visual reputation of your confidence.

        2 Confidence without a well laid out portfolio is nothing more than entertainment. Who doesn’t love a good story?

        3 The portfolio beats the 60 sec elevator pitch by far.

        4 A picture speaks a thousands words. One of the greatest compliments given to me is: ” Wow! Do you have a number where I can reach you?” This is a lovely request for your business card. I don’t voluntarily give it out.

        Good reading: Portfolio Designs by Design Shack #6 http://www.Designshack.net

        Note: Strangers have a purpose. In most cases they’ll tell you the truth by saying nothing. Friends and family are kind (most of the time). Its better to have the quality of your work judged by strangers. Design, Wait, and Let people get excited. Never ask that evasive question: What do you think? UGH! Now you asked me to lie. Because you thinks its great. Noooooooo!

        To #6 of your article. I would like to humbly add.

        Love this one! This also applies to Graphic Designers. (Smiling) So you thought Photoshop was all you had to know? Graphic Designer = Web Designer Oh how we’ve grown.

        My Tips in short.

        When you begin #4 is gospel. Take two years set up your finances, build your portfolio, library and educate yourself via books, sites like this one, test and certificates/degrees. Build your home studio for receiving clients (Not in your home). If you can get a separate phone line do it. Client’s have a habit of calling anytime they get an idea. Especially, the no idea clients until I see your idea types.

        Write it down, Write it down! The better you are the more problems you will have with You said, I said . So write it down and send the client a copy. Who said what and what was agreed! It does not have to be long just clearly noted.

        Lastly, get a deposit first! When you’re ready, you’ll be looking for customers like a one year marital art student looking for thugs and dark allies. So don’t be a throw me a bone freelancer, it’s not what you want to be. Or is it? Our confidence and skills should get us paid for our abilities. As a freelancer a clients deposit is their promise to us that they are not wasting our time and are serious. Everyone else, take their email, send them monthly sales and from time to time – examples of your work.

        Thank you for the platform Rean (Asian Bow)

        +1
  • Earl Varona

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 16:36

    25

    Great list! I like #3 (‘You think it’s easy money’) because people that doesn’t freelance often think this. Also, being in creative field, you just don’t turn creativity on and off whenever you want (I wish I can though). Your point is very valid that a designer needs to be in the ‘mood’ to be creative. Freelancing is definitely much harder than a 9-5 job but it is also very rewarding and it gives you a great room to grow and potentially make so much more in the future — and that’s why I’m doing it. Thanks for the great post! :)

    +1
    • Rean John Uehara

      Monday, February 4th, 2013 04:51

      34

      Hi Earl!

      You know what, I was guilty of #3. I really thought that if I started freelance writing, I’ll earn tons of money each month. Turns out I was only too focused on the success stories of freelancers — which is a trap — everyone should also look for the negative side of things (which I learned the hard way!).

      “…very rewarding and it gives you a great room to grow…” very true! This is what keeps freelancers from leaving their trade, actually. It’s a wide world out there and you will need every room available to grow.

      Thanks!

      0
  • Michael

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:45

    18

    I 100% agree with #5. I’ve tried to freelance, and some months it just doesn’t pay the bills. Although, that’s why you have a full-time job and freelance on the side!

    +7
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:40

      23

      Great point, Michael. I did not manage to point that out on the post, that you can actually take freelancing on the side while you have a full-time job. This is a good transition as well if you are thinking of going full-time anytime soon. Like a practice ground!

      Thanks!

      +4
  • Carlos Caneja

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:27

    16

    Freelancing sounds great because “you can be your own boss” but the truth is that every client becomes your boss . The advantage is that once when you get up on your own feet you get to “fire” your own boss if you want or you are in a position where you can. This doesn’t mean tell your client “go screw yourself or I’m outta here ass***”. Always let clients go a on a positive note, most of them actually enjoy working with you and keep you around because you deliver what they want. Bottom line try not to burn a bridge. I always try to say things like “I have a huge project I was just awarded and I will no longer be able to handle your account”.
    You have to have thick skin to be a freelancer and have hustle in your DNA if not you are going to fail fast. It’s not the type of work where you sit around and wait for work to come to you. You have to go get it.
    This article hits great key points that others don’t tell you about and if you are looking to make this sort of jump in your career. You need to look at both sides and not just the positives.

    There is one thing this article does not touch on and I think it’s key to the whole freelancing lifestyle. Yes, there are dark and cloudy days but there is also another side, the “I scored an awesome account” or “I just got amazing results or did amazing work for my client”. This is a type of sunny day like you’ve never seen before.

    P.S. You’ll love tax season :)

    +2
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:38

      22

      Hi Carlos!

      True. You can haul your ass off any project that you gravely dislike, but do it in a peaceful and professional manner. Because these people have connections, and they will refer anyone who has given them the best experience — whether it’s completion of a project or of how you two communicated.

      The key to locking in on clients, at least for the first few months or first year, is to actively seek them. Learn internet marketing, be thick skinned and contact everyone, ask for recommendations, and be generally awesome about what you do.

      Regarding freelancing lifestyle, we can definitely talk about that at length in the future. Thanks for pointing that. :)

      Tax season – “you thought you were safe from it, huh? Take care of it yourself.”

      Thanks!!

      +2
  • Daniel

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:07

    14

    Well, I still have to solve couple of issues, but the answer is YES! I definitely want to be a freelance web designer! I know what to really expect, I’m quite prepared for this. As for the clients, well, they are forcing me to become a web designer! They need me! Even if some of them are outright pain in the ass, I think it depends on me to select them. If I don’t like your face, I will not design for you! Period!

    +1
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:27

      21

      Hi Daniel!

      That’s the spirit! One big factor involved with people who fail is the lack of passion. The first few months are tough while you’re still crawling your way, setting things up. If you quit right then and there you won’t discover the magnificent world of freelancing (although this post made it scary!).

      Truth is, you can make any client into friends, no matter how unlikeable they appear to you. This is important, especially if it’s your first client (or first dozen). You need to give an amazing impression, impress them with your work, and befriend them. This is networking, something that will be of great benefit to you in the future. If a client has been hard on you and yet you fulfilled his/her requests and satisfied them, they will remember, and they will be grateful to you and will never forget what you did. :)

      Good luck! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so that we can notify you whenever a new post is published. :)

      Thanks!

      0
  • Mike

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:57

    13

    Thanks for the article.

    I am hoping to set up as a freelancer in the near future. Although nothing surprising in your points, it was a good, factual read and will better prepare for my career no doubt. A lot is common sense too.
    I can relate intimately with point 9. I am always thinking of how to better a design, I never seem to be completely satisfied with a project result. I have always been self analytical of my projects, but when the client is happy I can put it to experience and learn for the next project to do better, hopefully.

    -Mike

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:21

      20

      Hi Mike!

      Once in a while it is important to tell people things again even if they know it already, just to be sure that they’re still in check. Like confirming if they are still on the right track, helps a lot since people will know it’s not just them thinking about it, that there are hundreds or thousands of people thinking about the same thing. Confidence boost!

      I remember this quote from someone famous (shame I forgot who!), says:

      “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

      And I think you’re on the right track! Nothing is ever finished, you only abandon them and wish that a lot of people will be satisfied by it. When another project comes, you can then apply new things that can make you feel better about your work.

      Thanks Mike! Good luck with your career! :)

      0
  • Ian Belanger

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:08

    11

    Hey Rean,

    Excellent post!

    As someone who has been a freelance web designer/developer for the past 4+ years, I couldn’t agree more. You are right on the money with all of your points.

    #3 & #7 really hit home for me. I have not been “My Own Boss” since I started taking on clients. They are truly your boss, because they pay the bills. But, I will say this, I believe that earning money as a freelancer has been much more satisfying than earning money at a regular job and believe me, I have had quite a few regular jobs. Why? Because of the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a tough job and the client is praising your work to all of their friends. That my friends is a great feeling!

    I love this statement: “It’s not just about satisfying prospective clients with their designs, it’s also about how they market themselves, how they manage their financials, how they outplay several thousands of active competitors” because it is so true.

    Becoming a truly talented and successful freelance web designer takes an understanding of more than just design and coding. You have to have knowledge of marketing online(which ranges from email marketing to website color choices and sooo much more), seo and business in general as well. That is, if you want repeat business.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the post!

    Thanks,
    Ian

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:15

      19

      Hi Ian!

      The idea of becoming a freelancer so that you’ll have more time for yourself is just ridiculous. First, you’re not your own boss and you do not work just whenever you want to. Throughout anyone’s freelancing career several bosses will make life hard and miserable, but knowing that you did your best (excellence!) and being commended by it surely gives extra energy, right?

      Unlike in a company setting, every work you do as a freelancer is a permanent footprint that anyone can see and review. Whatever you build from when you began up to now will be subject to public viewing and you don’t want anyone to say, “mm, not good enough”!

      Becoming a truly talented and successful freelance web designer takes an understanding of more than just design and coding. You have to have knowledge of marketing online(which ranges from email marketing to website color choices and sooo much more), seo and business in general as well. That is, if you want repeat business.”

      Very true. Knowing how to code and design is one thing, sure that will get you clients, but you will be limiting yourself! That’s why internet marketing and learning how businesses work is crucial, thanks for pointing that out. :)

      Thanks for reading, I enjoyed your comment!

      0
  • Isuru

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:31

    7

    #3 is my favorite point. I can relate to that. I thought freelancing would be a walk in the park. About one month after I started freelancing, I got a day job as well. Balancing both is hell a lot of work. I have 2 projects to finish up within the next couple of weeks. I’ve been sleeping only 4 hours a day. Haven’t gone for any outings in 2 weeks. Its pretty tough. But I still like it. No pain, no gain, right?

    +4
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:01

      10

      Hi Isuru!

      No pain, no gain, true, but you can minimize the pain by being prepared!
      I can relate to that, I thought freelancing was easy as well. Work comes in, I finish it, I get money. It’s a scary world out there and competitors are eating each other alive!

      Uh oh, only 4 hours a day? Tough, but I know you’ll get through it! You seem to have the dedication to complete everything.

      In case you missed it, I highly suggest reading this: 10 Best Kept Secrets To Become More Creative By Boosting Your Brainpower to keep your mind and body balanced even when under pressure!

      Good luck with work, and don’t forget to sleep as much as possible after finishing every projects you have right now, it’s important!

      Thanks!

      0
      • Isuru

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:22

        15

        I frequently check 1WD. I have seen James’ article too. :) Its actually not my fault(for the most part, there were a couple of delays from my side too ’cause I’ve been preparing this final year project) but clients keep postponing meetings, not providing content on time, not responding to email and all so all the work just stacked up.

        Thank you. hopefully things will clear up by the end of this month and I’d have some free time to work on a couple of pet projects I have in mind and catch up with new JS and CSS. :)

        +1
    • ColorWP

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:26

      12

      Don’t forget the extra money from working on both projects. It can be quite satisfactory in the end when you retire at 25. ;)

      -1
      • Rean John Uehara

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 13:42

        24

        And be sure to indulge yourself once in a while, right? Nothing beats having a gallon of ice cream just for yourself. Yum!

        +1
  • Luison

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:29

    5

    I definitely have to fix a couple of issues, but i really thank you for telling me the truth. I about to become a freelance web designer, or at least I want to, and I appreciate someone saying this ten points. I would probably read the “100 reasons” aswell.
    Thanks again. Really helpful and inspiring.
    I already knew about point 7…
    …and yes, I still want to be a designer. ;)

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:55

      9

      Hi Luison!

      I will consider writing 100 reasons! The thing about becoming a freelancer is that it is an entirely new world. No will push you whenever you are feeling down or lost, it’s entirely your responsibility. That is why you need to be prepared as much as possible, know the problems beginning freelancers are experiencing, and how they overcame those problems. If you have passion with what you do, that’s only 50% of it, but it’s very important because that is the thing that will keep you on going!

      Good luck with your chosen career!

      0
  • ColorWP

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:11

    3

    I would like to put extra stress on point 8 from the list, because it is very correct in reality. On many occasions you will be asked for a quick Skype or real-life interview where you must prove that your skills are worthy of the rate you ask for the project. This brings me to these very important things you missed in the article:

    11. Improve your English – since most of your clients will probably be English-speaking, it is worth every penny you invest in improving your written and spoken English.
    12. Invest in your wardrobe – no matter how good a programmer you are, if you go to a business meeting or a project negotiation – you won’t go far dressed in your shorts. It is true that freelancers have the freedom to do whatever they like and dress however you like (you may even work in your pajamas at home), but don’t enforce it to your clients. It’s just not good professional etiquette.

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:51

      8

      Thanks for the tips! When it comes to improving your English, it should also mean that you need to appear confident at all times. Nothing ends a deal faster than stuttering or sweating the whole time because your English is not good enough. This is why you should try to take a look at the future as much as possible.

      Regarding your wardrobe..don’t overdo it, though. Always go for the perfect fit, it works wonders!

      0
  • Noman

    Friday, February 1st, 2013 09:52

    1

    I strongly disagree with this post!

    +22
    • Rean John Uehara

      Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:07

      2

      I would love to know why!

      +1
      • Noman

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:24

        4

        Because I am successful FullTime Freelance web designer. There are difficulties only if you are not good what you do or you are not careful. And if you have these flaws in oneself, then you can not even succeed in your ordinary job as well.

        +6
        • Carlos Caneja

          Friday, February 1st, 2013 12:32

          17

          you are spot on, if you have zero hustle you won’t make it anywhere other than collecting dollars for parked cars leaving the lot.

          I think the article was just trying to say that it’s not as great as it sounds, there’s also a dark side that not many people talk about.

          +7
      • Raging Bhitch

        Friday, February 1st, 2013 10:29

        6

        The post has a point. Of course not all applies to all but not respecting these realities will give you a bad time.

        -2

Comments are closed.

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