How to Set Up Your Freelance Business for the Long Haul

by Steven Snell
on May 4, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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When starting a freelance design business the natural primary concern is how to find clients and to start getting paying work. While this is necessary in order to achieve success as a freelancer, there are a lot of other details that need to be considered as well. How quickly you’re able to get those first paying clients will actually have less impact on your long-term success than the amount of time and attention you dedicate to setting up your business on a proper foundation.

In this post we’ll look at the early stages of a freelance design business and what aspects can have a significant long-term impact. Focusing on these important issues from the start will help you to save time and headaches down the road, and your business will be more solid because of it.

1. Know Your Goals and Priorities

Not every freelance designer wants the same thing out of their career. Some may want to simply do a little part-time freelancing as a creative outlet that gives them time away from their full-time career. Some may want to use a short stint as a freelancer to build up their portfolio and profile in order to help land a job with a design agency or as an in-house designer. Others may want to freelance full-time for the foreseeable future, maybe even with the possibility of expanding and hiring some employees at a later date.

The goals that you have will impact how you go about marketing your business, and even how you set it up. If your goal is to use freelancing as a gateway to full-time employment, the long-term aspect is probably not a major concern. For the purposes of this article we’ll be focusing on those who want to establish a career as a freelancer and those who want to eventually transition from freelancing into an agency by hiring others.

One example of how your goals and priorities would impact your approach is in regards to your name. If you’re attempting to build your profile within the industry you’ll most likely want to operate simply using your own name, as this will help to build name recognition and to brand yourself as a leading designer. However, if you’re hoping to hire other designers down the road or even sell your business at some point, you’ll probably want to operate under a business name. Any work you do to brand your business or build up a reputation will have a greater impact on the long-term health of your business this way.

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10 Ways to Lose a Client

by Steven Snell
on April 26, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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Providing quality service and retaining clients is critical to the success of any freelancer or design agency. In this post we’ll look at ten common causes for clients leaving designers. The intent is to provide some clear examples of things that should be avoided if you want to keep your clients happy.

1. Don’t Provide Quality Work

Clients will always have a certain expectation in terms of quality of work. It might seem that these expectations will correspond to their budget (high budget = high quality, low budget = low quality), but this is not always the case. Failing to live up to the quality expectations of a client can lead to a lack of repeat business, no referral business, and even the loss of a client before a project is completed.

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12 Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Freelancer

by Steven Snell
on April 21, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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Freelancing is attractive to a lot of people because of the opportunity to work on your own and to set your own hours. However, in reality most full-time freelancers face a lot of stress and experience burnout in their work on a regular basis. In this post we’ll look at some things that you can do to avoid burnout and to maintain an efficient and rewarding work process while still having a life outside of work.

1. Establish Reasonable Working Hours

One of the most obvious contributors to burnout is simply working too much. Most freelancers, myself included, struggle with setting working hours and sticking with them. It’s easy to work more hours than you plan when things don’t go as you expected, or when you have a lot that needs to get done. Certainly there are times when upcoming deadlines may force you to work longer hours, but that should be the exception not the norm.

The first step towards avoiding burnout is to have some sort of a set schedule that involves only working a reasonable number of hours each week. Most freelancers cherish the freedom that they have to work whatever hours they choose, and this often leads to a hesitance to establish a normal schedule. Setting working hours doesn’t require that you have a boring schedule with no room for flexibility. You can work varied hours that change from one week to the next, but the important part is that you set a schedule for yourself that will help you to avoid working ridiculously long hours on a regular basis.

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11 Ways To Earn More Money Freelancing

by Blue Derkin
on April 13, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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It’s no secret that times are tough all over, even for those who work in the Web design industry. Maybe you’ve found full-time work as a web designer, but in this economy it’s just as likely that you’re piecing together several part-time or contract gigs just to stay afloat.

Whatever your situation, you could probably stand to make some extra cash. We all could, right? Luckily, skills in design and development are in demand, and due to the downturn, companies are more likely to hire freelancers to do their web design and development work. And, even better, you can make extra money with the work you’re already doing! Here are 11 ways, then, that you can make some extra income as a freelance designer by adding some value to your existing services, or by leveraging your expertise in a more piecemeal fashion.

Become a Hosting Affiliate

When a client hires you to design their site, sometimes they have a hard time understanding that not only do they need a domain, but they need to host that site somewhere. And, usually, they leave it up to you to decide who will host it. You probably already host the majority of sites you design with the same company, so why not profit from that loyalty? Most hosting companies offer a commission for hosting account referrals, so give them a call and ask how that might work for you. Most hosting companies will also allow you to add an affiliate link to your own site, and that will pay off anytime someone clicks through the link and purchases hosting. Both scenarios will earn you some extra money with very little extra effort on your part.

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