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10 Great Reasons to be a freelance web designer

I can think of hundreds of reasons to be a web designer, and even more to be a freelance web designer – but you have to make your choice carefully. Being freelance isn’t just about being good at what you do. You have to know how to run yourself as business. It isn’t enough to be the best, you have to go the extra mile for your clients. These are 10 reasons why being a freelance web designer is a great career move.

1. You work your own hours
This can be a gift or a curse and it all comes down to you and your time management. I like to keep office hours when I can, so I work from around 8am until 6pm. This allows me to be in contact with my clients when they expect to be able to reach me. The other side of the coin, is that if you manage your time properly, you can find yourself with days that are almost totally free and you can work on personal projects or spend extra time with your family.

2. You get to do what you love
If you don’t love this work, then don’t do it. It’s as simple as that. I have been a freelance web designer for 10 years now and I love what I do. I still have the drive and desire each morning to go and make something beautiful. Don’t get into this for the money, do it for the love of the craft.

3. You are your own boss
This is similar to number one in a way. You are your own boss, and it all comes down to how you manage yourself. There is nobody to answer to (except your clients), so you can run things your way. It’s a lovely feeling, but on the flip side, remember, there is no safety net – you are the only thing standing between you and a zero bank balance, so make sure you put the work in.

4. You can mix and match your kind of work
If you’re anything like me, you’ll like to mix your work up. I take on about 75% of direct client work, where I am building sites for small to medium businesses. The other 25% of the time, I work for various digital agencies in London. I go on-site and become a member of their team for a short time, to help them hit a deadline or create something wonderful. This mixing up of your locations and kind of work you undertake helps to keep everything fresh.

5. You can be a real sponge
This is linked to number four, but you will find that as you go out and work in different environments, you learn new things from the people around you. You can be a sponge and soak all of that inspiration up and then use it later. You can learn so much from various people within organisations. It might be something from a design perspective, where you see a really cool effect and think “I must try that!”. It could be a really awesome bit of code that you hadn’t thought of using, that you can learn from – or it could be something as simple as how someone interacts with a client. You can learn from everyone you work with, so be a sponge and soak it all up.

6. The money can be pretty good
This is a double edged sword. The money can be decent if you have a wide range of clients and a constant stream of work. That being said, if you have a quiet month, then you are in for a world of hurt. You need to be very financially savvy. Make sure you put plenty of money aside for lean months (we all have them!) and also, never underestimate how much you’ll need for your end of year tax bill!

7. You get to be, well, you!
It sounds simple, but when you are a freelancer, you are your own brand. You as a person are the whole brand and identity. Don’t be something you’re not. Don’t try to be a small (or big!) agency when it is just you. Be transparent and open about who you are. Be yourself, you’re the only one there is.

8. You work from home
As I have mentioned, I work from home 75% of the time. Sometimes it can be a little boring, but as long as you mix in some office hours at other places, it’s really nice to be able to get up and not rush around with public transport, messing with tube strikes and buses. It’s lovely to have a home office that you can just go to and crack on with your day.

9. You get to collaborate
When you work alone, you often take on projects that require extra hands – sometimes you need to collaborate with people who have a different skill set to you, and that makes your life a whole lot easier. The great thing about collaboration, is that it works both ways. If you get someone in to help you, perhaps next time, they may bring you in to help them on a project. You get to meet lots of other people in the same boat as you.

10. It is downright fun
I cannot stress how much I love working as a freelance web designer. It is the most fun in any job I have ever had. When you work for yourself, you get all of that freedom I have talked about and you do something you love. It really is so much fun to be working every day. A quote to live by is “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius