Beyond Freelance Web Design: What to Know Before You Grow

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Your web design business is doing well. So well, in fact, that you’ve regularly been hiring subcontractors to help you with your work.

You’re thinking of moving beyond freelancing. You’re seriously considering becoming a full-fledged web design agency. Should you do it?

At first glance, starting your own agency may sound wonderful. If you do it, you can be proud that you’ve built something from the ground up and that you are able to give others a start in the industry. Owning an agency may also provide you with a chance to earn more money.

Naturally, there are quite a few differences between running an agency and freelancing. In this post, I’ll outline some of them. If you’ve made the transition from freelancing to running a web design agency, or are thinking of doing so, you’re invited to share your thoughts and comments at the end of this post.

A Freelance Web Designer’s Guide to Offering Freebies to Generate Leads

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Many experts and gurus recommend giving away a product or service to attract leads. Offering freebies is a marketing strategy that has really taken off to the point where most of us are now inundated with free offers. In fact, not a day goes by when I don’t find a free offer in my email inbox or through a popup window on a site I’m visiting.

I used to get really excited about free offers, but now that it seems like everyone is giving something away it’s gotten so that I mostly just ignore over 90% of the free offers that I run across. Free doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

Many web designers have jumped on board the giveaway bandwagon. This is especially true for those designers who have a side gig that involves selling WordPress themes or apps.

In this post, I’ll examine the strategy of using free offers to attract business. We’ll look at what works, what doesn’t work, and I’ll explain how you can make sure that your free offer reaches your target audience.

Top Tips on How to Stop Struggling to Get Paid for Freelance Designers

US one hundred dollar bills falling from a blue sky.Have you ever had trouble getting a client to pay you? Some freelance designers struggle to collect the money that is due to them.

From a freelancer’s perspective, getting paid is the most important part of the project. The money we get from freelancing pays our bills and helps us to stay in business.

And to be honest, no one wants to spend weeks (or even months) trying to collect from a former client. But sometimes, payment problems happen anyway.

Happily, there are some steps you can take to reduce or even eliminate payment problems. In this post, I share some tips to help you get paid including the seven steps of effective invoicing and five invoicing tools. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like The Nitty Gritty Details Freelancers Need to Know About Getting Paid.

40 Photos of Creative Offices & Freelance Workspaces

There’s no denying that Wordpress has become the leading CMS on the market. Anybody looking to launch a simple website would be foolish not to consider WP. It has the largest amount of free themes and plugins – not to mention the huge base of developers working to push out bug fixes every day.

But just working with the default Wordpress options is not enough. That’s why I have this collection of 26 amazing resources for those interested in learning Wordpress. You can find hundreds of free templates & plugins to mess around with. Additionally some web developers have written tutorials on how you can edit code and customize your installation. Spend some time going through these links and be sure to share your thoughts with us in the post discussion area.

Creative Office Aquarium

Budgeting Tips for Freelance Designers and Other Freelancers

Managing money can be a problem for a freelance designer. If you’ve been a freelance designer for any length of time, then you already know that your income can fluctuate as a freelancer–sometimes a lot.

Many freelance designers find the financial ups and downs of freelancing to be a real challenge. In this post, I share some budgeting tips to help freelance designers and other freelancers manage their budget. If you like this post, you will likely also like Budgeting for Freelancers.

10 Essential Guidelines for Freelance Collaboration

Freelance collaboration is on the rise. Increasingly, teams of freelancers are now doing the work that in-house departments used to do. Graphic designers are now working on teams with writers and programmers.

But many freelancers are used to working alone. Collaboration definitely requires freelancers to make a few adjustments.

In this post, I’ll provide ten essential guidelines to help you put the pieces together for freelance collaboration. If you enjoy this post, you may also enjoy reading 15 Questions to Ask Before Collaborating.

How to Set Up Your Freelance Business for the Long Haul

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.

12 Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Freelancer

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.