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.
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.
Networking is a critical part of building a successful freelance business. A strong network can lead to more referral business, better recognition within the industry, new opportunities, and much more. Although it isn’t the type of work that directly produces income for a freelance designer, networking should be a priority that warrants some time and attention.
In this post we’ll look at 10 things you can do if you’re looking to improve the strength of your network. This may be helpful for those who are just getting started in their careers or for people who simply want to make more of an effort to build a better network.
1. Know What You Have to Offer
One of the most common mistakes made in networking is only focusing on what you can get out of the relationship. Networking is a two-way street and must be beneficial for both people in order for it to have any long-term success. If you are focused only on what other people can do for you and on getting connected to people that can help you, you’ll be missing out on great opportunities to build strong relationships by helping others.
As you work to get to know other professionals and build your network, be sure that you know specifically what it is that you have to offer other people. As a web designer you have valuable skills and experience that many professionals would like to have as a part of their network, and your existing connections may also be very valuable to the people that you meet.
One of the benefits of working as a freelance designer is that you can work with clients all around the world. Location isn’t the same type of barrier that it is with most traditional businesses. However, because of the possibility to work with clients in just about any location, most designers do not market themselves to clients in their local area.
With the amount of competition that exists from other freelancers and design agencies, one way of standing out and potentially increasing your workload is to specifically target clients in your local area. This can be effective both in terms of offline marketing as well as search engine optimization.
If you would like to pick up more clients in your local area here are some tips.
1. Make it Evident on Your Portfolio Site
Having an effective portfolio site is an essential contributing factor to the success of almost any designer or design business. If you are targeting local clients, in order for your portfolio site to be effective it must address the needs of this audience. One of the first steps towards attracting more work from local clients is helping them to feel comfortable with you and showing them that you are interested in working with them.
For targeting local clients your portfolio site should clearly state where you are located and what services you can provide to clients in the area. Some clients will not care where you are located, but others will feel more comfortable with a designer that they know lives and works nearby. When these people arrive at your portfolio site they should clearly see that you are interested in working with local businesses.