Being a freelance web designer certainly isn’t for everyone. Freelancing is a different way to run a business because the business is me. To be sure, it takes a lot more than just being good at what I do! Like every other job it’s a mix of good and bad, but if the job is right for you, the good is going to outweigh the bad. Below are 10 main reasons I chose to be a freelance web designer.
1. I decide my own hours
Depending on who you are, this one can be a blessing or a curse. If you excel at managing your time, it will certainly be a blessing. I never have to worry about taking time off for family events or vacations. At the same time, any loss of time incurred is always on me. I have found that keeping regular office hours is essential, so most of the time, I work from 8am until 6pm. This way my clients have a set time when they know they can reach me, and I have a sense of structure in my workday.
2. I am my own boss
Again, being my own boss is only a good thing if I'm a good boss. Having power over my day and my work can be exhilarating. I never have to answer to anyone but my clients. The flip-side is that I can also never put the blame on anyone else when things go wrong. I am the only person standing between myself and an empty bank account. When you work for yourself, putting in the hours necessary is not optional.
3. I get to do what I love
Being a freelance web designer and not loving web design would never work. Like all jobs, this one also requires actual work. If I was to pick my own career, as I did, there is no doubt that this would be my first choice. Getting to do the work I love, and make beautiful web designs gives me a sense of joy and purpose. If that part was missing, I could never do it. If you don’t love the work you freelance, then don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.
4. I can mix up my work
I crave variety in my work and enjoy mixing it up. That's why I've chosen to spend about 20% of my time working for various digital agencies in London. Going on-site to be a temporary team member and to help them reach a deadline has been a great opportunity. I get to mix up my location as well as the kind of work I do. Collaborating with other is always an opportunity to learn new things and gain experience. The remaining 80% of the time, I work on my own directly with my own clients, building sites for small businesses.
5. I can still learn from others
Like I mentioned in number four, I do some outside work for other agencies. This means that even though I am my own boss and work alone, I don't miss out on opportunities to learn from others in the business. Going into a new work environment is a chance to learn from the people around me. Whether it's new inspiration or simply watching another designer's process, I always take something away from working with other web designers. Sometimes it's a cool effect, or an awesome bit of code, or just seeing things from a different perspective.
6. I make good money
Yet another point that can lean both ways. I make good money when I have lots of clients and a steady stream of work. In the quieter months, the lack of incoming work can be a real struggle. I always need to make sure I put away money during good months in preparation for the lean one. I also need to carefully estimate what I'll need for my end of year tax bill.
7. I get to do my own thing
Maybe it sounds overly simplified, but the fact is, that as a freelance web designer, I am my own brand. I'm my business' whole identity. It's important to never pretend I am something I am not. I am not a big agency. I am one person, who loves web designing, and who works hard to make a living doing what I love. In this business, being transparent is everything.
8. I can pick my office
I work from home about 80% of the time. This saves me time and money I'd otherwise spend on public transport, not to mention the stress of tube strikes and buses stuck in traffic. But, my home office still doesn’t have to be the only place I work. There's nothing stopping me from bringing my work to a public workspace, or with me on a trip out of town. At the same time, I really don't have to leave my house to get down to work.
9. I can bring in others as I please
Working alone sometimes requires me to hire in extra hands. Collaborating with people who have different skill sets from me, makes this work a whole lot easier. Collaboration also, thankfully, works both ways. This time, I might get someone in to help me, and another time, they might bring my work experience in to help their company. Working with people who are in the same boat as me, allows me a greater network, and a sense of belonging to a greater community.
10. My job is fun
This one goes hand in hand with doing what I love. I get to be my own boss, control my work environment, and on top of it, do what I love. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs out there that can guarantee that. As long as I am disciplined enough, it really is the best of all worlds. Thankfully, I love web design, and still get up every morning excited to do my job!