Freelance web designers…why is our job so trivial at times? Agh! If it were only as easy as baking an apple pie without the recipe. Alas, freelancing has its ups and downs, but probably more downs than ups. Freelance web designers are pure and intentional at heart. We desire to make the internet a better place where Grand ma ma can pick up a keyboard and start jamming. Web sites should be easy to use with the Don’t Make Me Think approach to design. If Geico Cavemen can’t endorse your website, then something is…wrong.

 




 

5 freelance web designers frustrations 

Now that you, the reader, know the heart of a web designer, enter the mind of one when it comes to client interaction. We wear our pure intentions on our sleeves. Freelance web designers hope that clients see that. Usually…not always the case. What we come across is a “me, me, me” attitude combined with asinine assumptions and extraordinary expectations.

 

Freelance Web Designers Top 5

 
Here are five frustrations of freelance web designers and possible solutions to ease them.
 

  1. Freelance web designers may go days, weeks, months without work.Freelancing is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking to web design for people, be prepared for scarcity in the beginning. If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t say this is a bad time for you, but it’s the best time to hone your craft.
     
    When I got started in 2012, I spent months developing my graphic design strengths for logo purposes and creating basic html/css sites. I practiced on fictional brands and developed templates. My first real project was Living Witness Missionary Church which is built on Photoshop, HTML, and CSS.
     
    Easing Frustration: To minimize the drought of work you will come into, use this time to beef up your skills. This will include creating different versions of popular sites, developing fictional ones, creating modules and templates, etc. You can also learn a tad bit of JavaScript or CSS animations to produce unique slide shows or hover effects for people to use.
     
    Mike Locke of MLWeb Co., a 15 year freelancer and employed web designer, is a genius regarding web design practices. Check his youtube channel for information pertaining to best web design business practices. He has a library of video content on his channel addressing common pitfalls and encouragement to push through.
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  3. Freelance web designers have to deal with wavering client deadlines. Deadlines are affected by unexpected problems, functionality configuration, feature additions, and sometimes numerous request. What’s so frustrating about this is that clients can pile on request to no end. Often times clients ask for projects to be completed in a months time accompanied by a Facebook feature wishlist. This pushes deadlines back that then risk souring relationships.
     
    Easing Frustration: Before you commit to a project, listen carefully to what people are requesting. Be aware of your strengths and don’t accept projects from a place of desperation. If you are in financial dire straits, then I suggest taking on smaller projects to help tide you over. This way you’ll still get paid while improving your skill level.
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  5. Freelance web designers not only deal with wavering deadlines, but wavering clients.The honest truth is clients don’t know what they want. Not all, but a respectable number. Most web designers encounter the “I need a website” or “I want another Facebook” type of clientele all the time. And accommodating that small thinking is “you’re the designer. Make something happen captain” expectation. Most people have an idea of what they want. Unfortunately have not taken the time to take what’s in their head and place it on paper.
     
    Easing Frustration: For me this is the biggest, headache of all, but yields the highest opportunities and rewards. This is your chance to demonstrate to a consumer your infinite expertise. If you can connect with a client that is having a hard time describing what they want, you will win not just them, but great referrals.
     
    If you can finish a clients sentence, “It kind of has black in it…” with “you mean a menu with a black gradient with clear hover effects,” and they respond, “that’s the one!” then you have a more than a client. You have a friend.
     
    Also when it comes to articulating clients needs, this is an opportunity to raise rates. Clients are responsible for providing a basis for their content which includes pictures, text, or at the very least, an outline. If clients approach you with the bare bones, “I need a site in a month” request without any wood to build with, well, that’s going to be extra buddy. Curating content on top of designing and often development is sometimes more time consuming. Your time is equally as valuable as theirs!
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  7. Freelance web designers are challenged with an income ceiling. I first heard about this on an episode of Mike Locke’s podcast. On it he states that Freelance web designers face a salary cap as a result of the possible amount of projects handled in a given month.
     
    I can personally attest to this. At my current skill level, I’m able to manage, on average, 2 projects per month. Depending on the demands and “unrealistic expectations,” those projects can last longer. It’s especially worst if I agreed to a fixed amount for the project.
     
    Easing frustrations: Graduate to becoming an agency or focus on getting hired now by a company. Facing a ceiling can be a good thing. It indicates you have acquired enough clients to reach a threshold. Your skills are also strong enough at this point, however, despite the evolution, you may need help.
     
    Consider also collaborating with other developers or outsourcing components of a project to delegate the burden of “doing everything.” Sure this may take money out your pocket, but long term it will put more money back in.
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  9. Freelance web designers may not always manage their time or themselves well. Chances are you are a freelancer working from home. You are more than likely facing the challenges of household interruptions. This includes wife or husband demands, kids needing you, chores calling you, errands, the works.
     
    As a single person, these may not be concerns, but temptations still abound. Those thoughts of “Man, I really need to know how season 1 ends of the Walking Dead,” can easily override responsibility. Without an overseer, you are free to work at your own leisure. But how do you fend off the devils of procrastination and laziness?
     
    Easing frustrations: You may or may not experience frustration putting things off until the last minute. For me personally, it is a constant challenge especially when juggling multiple assignments. If managing yourself and setting aside time is a problem, then here are some ways to get yourself together:
     

    • Set small, manageable goals for yourself daily.This isn’t new news and you possibly heard to this at some point. But it is critical if you are a freelance web designer. Why you ask? Because web design and development is housing construction.
       
      If you focus on building a website brick by brick which means, “Today I will focus on designing this drop down menu and ensuring it functions correctly,” you are more likely to achieve daily success. Eventually your bricks will lead to this big, bodacious house designed perfectly for your client.
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    • Schedule an amount of time daily that involves focused, uninterrupted works.Everyone has different situations. For most this is easier said than done. I have a family, a day job as a technology teacher, spiritual responsibilities, mentorship, and more. But I prioritize time to work on projects for my clients and myself.
       
      By analyzing my days daily, I’m able to schedule an amount of time to work on my calendar. Usually this is at night time, 2 hours before bed, but that small window continues to catapult my career in the direction I’m traveling.
       
      Others, its a matter of laziness. If you’re single freelancing, laziness could be your biggest enemy. But by being diligent and purposeful, laziness could be a reward for early hard work. If your goal is three hours of works to move the needle forward, reward yourself with lounging.
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    • Find people to hold you accountable. You may realize you’re not strong enough to handle business alone. So what do you do? You get help! My accountability people are my wife, co-partner, and clients themselves. By having people constantly follow up with your progress, it keeps you mindful and diligent of what needs to be done.
       
      For me, I have people depending on my efforts which establishes a sense of urgency for me to work hard, but smarter. As a result, I started getting more referrals which eventually led to bringing collaborators on board to handle the load. Because of this, it’s been a wonderful life.
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    • Celebrate small victories. On a daily basis, when I have accomplished what’s on my planner, I defrag my brain with Netflix, leisure time with family, or my lifelong past time, video games. Whatever does not require not cause you a lot mental stress is quite possibly your best reward for a hard days work.

 




 

In Conclusion

As a designer, you will come across more frustrations than this. I consider these the top 5. If you agree or disagree, then leave a comment below or become a subscriber to keep the conversation going. I love sharing with like-minded people about similar struggles to develop solutions. If you’re looking to get into this business, then drop me a line. I
 
I’m here to help.

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