Has it ever occur to you how to ace your freelancing career? Freelance web designing is not an ordinary job. If you dip in the puddle of the freelance industry, you’ll discover that these people are a lot more creative and productive than those who work at desks and offices. Surely, they don’t earn the way people at desk jobs do but freelancers have the absolute and ultimate liberty on how well they utilize their time, and, in most cases, where they utilize it.
As a freelancer, you can work anywhere, anytime. You can design your website in a desk, an office, a coffee shop, in the bathroom – you name it. Freelancers have the greatest gift of all: Freedom. However, this freedom isn’t really that ‘free’. As a freelance web designer, you need to work with people, deadlines and the greatest enemy of all time, procrastination.
So, what will you do to become a smart freelancer? Let me share with you these simple tips:
Have a Routine
In basketball, the best free-throw shooters follow a routine. It’s not a foolproof solution to bad free-throw shooting but it helps. It allows you, the player, to focus and condition your mind into thinking that you are shooting a free-throw and nothing else.
Photo by Kate Parker
In freelancing, this is also applicable. Having a daily routine for your tasks is advantageous. It allows you to condition your mind into working. Plus, you are able to manage your time properly. Set goals and arrange them according to urgency and importance. Balance all the things that need to be done and judge what needs to be done first.
Remember when I said that you need to arrange every task according to importance? You need to know what projects should be done first and what are the more important ones and should be given more time. Don’t focus on one project only; try to work on the things you want to get accomplished first.
Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? Maybe you could use this great management tool to your advantage.
The basic premise in this principle is to have an 80-20 rule. According to the rule, the 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Meaning, 80% of your project delays, come from the 20% of doing projects you can’t finish.
So next time you take on a project, think how difficult it is to finish and how long will it take for you to have it done. Then compute how much will you earn over the effort. The result will determine the priority of your project.
Photo by Amy
- If the project is less difficult, put it first. That way, before you spend a big chunk of your time on a difficult and time-consuming project, you’re done with the easy ones.
- Do the projects that have the earliest deadlines.
- Focus on the projects that interest you the most.
Choose Between Day or Night
Are you a day or night person? This is a serious and important question to answer. Some people find mornings exciting and invigorating to work. Some find evenings mind-conditioning and could write a thousand lines of code. Either way, you need to find where you belong. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage as a freelancer. Of course, it is a disadvantage because you’ll be dealing with distractions at any point in the day, so you have to resist. But it is more of an advantage because most jobs don’t offer you this flexibility – to work whenever you want.
Photo by Periwinckle
So choose. By saving time, you take those idle moments when you are not productive as rest hours, giving you time to refresh and recharge.
Give Each Project a Time Limit
Never put your time to waste. Prepare a schedule for your projects. Give each project a time limit, enough for you to actually finish what you’re supposed to do. With that, you will know how much you will be able to do and handle each project with sensitivity and full attention. If you fail to meet the time limit and you feel that extending it will hamper the succeeding items in your schedule, then continue it after everything is done. That way, you will not end up wasting time and finishing nothing.
Photo by Brice Ambrosiak
Keep Yourself from Distractions
When you work, as much as possible, keep away from distractions: that itching sensation of checking who just sent you a message on Facebook, browsing through the Twitter Feed, or even opening your favorite MMORPG. These things keep you away from what you are supposed to do. Identify what these distractions are and avoid them by all means. This may be difficult at first, but then again, everything is, isn’t’ it?
Have you felt absolutely flat out? Like, when your imagination cannot produce anything? Or when you cannot work? Well, that’s a very difficult situation. You’re in a ‘block’. So what do you need to do? The secret is simple: outline.
Outlining is an advantageous means of preserving your creativity for more projects. It’s very simple. First, you need to bring your writing materials wherever you go. Bring a pencil or a piece of paper. Next, in your idle time, walk around, have coffee, watch a movie. Do anything. If anything pops up, which I’m sure there will, write it down (or draw it). That way, you’re investing in your own ‘idea bank’ and obtain ideas from it when you need them the most.
Make a Portfolio
As freelancers, you have no character references to offer or any cool and prestigious corporate names to provide. Clients are not be sure how good you are because of this. That is why you need to create a great portfolio. Put your projects, I mean, your best projects in it. This way, when future clients would request a list of what you’ve already done, you can give them your URL and let them see how good you really are.
Photo by petermailloux.com
Take a Break
Of course, taking a break is important. As websites need to clear caches, or computers need to refresh, you also need to rest. Taking rests before projects allow you to become more passionate and productive! It also keeps you from being sick and tired of what you do. So sit back and refresh – I mean, relax.
Photo by Steve Beckett
Freelancing sure is difficult and it poses a lot of challenges, but it’s totally worth it. Once you’ve become used to the routine and kept yourself away from distractions, you’ll find yourself enjoying and earning as much as (or even more) than those who have regular jobs! So suit up and become a smarter freelancer.
Rudolph is a geek. He loves reading: books, blogs and even nutrition facts found at the back of products. Since joining 1stwebdesigner last year, Rudolph has written several articles that concerns Typography, Wordpress, Freelance Lifehacks, Graphic Design and Showcase of Beautiful Web Designs. He also write poems, movie reviews and he puts them in his blog together with rants and some daily life updates.