The Journey of a Freelancer Web Designer

The Journey of a Freelancer Web Designer

Freelancing is a career that people have mixed feelings about. On the positive side, your working hours are flexible, you are your own boss, and you can choose your clients. On the other hand, finding work can be a struggle, financials are often tight and when you’re unable to work, there’s no sick leave allowance.

Overall, many people choose to start freelancing whilst holding down a full time job. This has challenges of its own. You have less time to yourself in the evenings, you need to find clients who will accommodate your late hours, and your boss might not approve, making things difficult.

However, starting as a freelancer when you’re working full time can prove to be a great way to build up a client base, improve your skills and ease your way into running your own business full time.

As a full time worker and after-hours freelancer, I’ve had to learn to juggle my time to get everything done properly and timeously. My first experiment was as a life coach, coaching over the phone in the evenings and meeting clients face-to-face on weekends. My biggest challenge was giving up my free time to follow my passion for personal development. The most rewarding outcome was the gratitude I received from the people I helped move forward in their lives. 

I soon started studying whilst working and so my freelancing had to take a back seat. When my studies were complete, I found myself wanting to fill that time with another revenue stream so I discovered a new freelancing endeavour. I realised that I really enjoyed building my coaching website, and as a result, I had become very proficient at using WordPress. And so I decided to jump into the deep end and offer website design as a service.

The first step to being a credible WordPress designer was showing potential clients that I could do what I promised, and so I needed to build up a portfolio. I began developing websites for my friends for free to improve my skills, get references and build my portfolio. I built my own website and then started advertising myself.

My business soon blossomed as referrals from my friends started pouring in and people found me through my website, as well as through my adverts on Gumtree. Within a few months of starting, I had my first paying clients and was kept very busy building websites.

In reflection, the biggest step I took was to put myself out there, trusting that I’d be able to build the sites that people wanted. I had to trust my skills and my ability to learn quickly.

As a result, my confidence has improved and my network has grown. The hardest lesson though, has been realising that marketing myself is a constant necessity. I’ve been challenged to be consistent and innovative, and these will ultimately determine how successful my business will be in the future.

My advice to others in similar situations would be to build up your skills, take the leap, do what it takes and reach out to others for help. Be fair on yourself, give back to those in need, and learn to prioritise.

This guest post was written by Sarah Mills, owner of Simply Sites, a WordPress website development company. Contact her via Twitter @simplygeekgirl

Image Courtesy: Wired.com

2 Replies to “The Journey of a Freelancer Web Designer”

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