Top Tips for Freelance Web Designers to Make 2019 Your Most Productive Year Ever

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The number of professionals leaving the traditional world of 9-5s and striking out alone to take control of their careers through freelancing is continuing to rise, with over 2,000,000 people freelancing in the UK alone. Of this mammoth figure, a surprising 48% are aged 40-59, though the number of freelancers aged 26-29 has risen by over 60% in the last decade.

The world of freelancing is refreshingly diverse and we’re seeing numbers rise across a slew of different industries, from literature to fitness, from healthcare to risk analysis. Of course, today’s post focuses on web design and development professionals but you’ll find that these tips can be applied to many different areas of business. Our goal today? To give you some tips to help you hone your productivity and make 2019 your best business year so far.

Create a Routine

This is an absolute must and the first thing you should do as a freelancer. Plan out your work for the day, set firm start and end times for your working day and stick to it. While the joy of working for yourself is the ability to set your own working hours, we do find sticking as closely as possible to the traditional hours of 9-5 is helpful.

For starters, it’s easier to get into a regular routine if your work day is similar to those you live with, whether that’s a partner or housemates. If your partner is relaxing on the sofa with Netflix on and you still have three hours of work to do because of an epic lay in, it’s tempting to slack off and let the work build up in the background.

Secondly, it’s helpful for your clients if you’re available to answer queries or discuss feedback when their office is open. If they send through a design note in the morning and you don’t receive it until you log on twelve hours later, it could start to create a strained relationship and lead to unsatisfied clients.

That’s not to say you have to be chained to your desk from 9-5 every day but be mindful of the hours that work best for both your business and your lifestyle. The most important thing is that you stick to the routine you’ve set out – if you lose your discipline then it’s a slippery slope into chaos and missed deadlines.

Be Realistic

There are so many points we could touch on here but we’re going to focus on two things – setting realistic goals and being realistic about your workload.

Let’s start with goals:

Like any business-owner, you’ve likely started the year with a number of resolutions that focus on your career, whether that’s to grow your business, increase your profits or enhance your skills. These are all great things to work towards but we urge you to be realistic when setting specific goals – is doubling your profits within a year really do-able while still enjoying your work and taking pride in it? Can you take on four new clients this quarter without the quality of your other work dropping? Taking it slow isn’t as exciting as rapid growth but it’s often the key to longevity.

Now let’s move onto workload:

When you’re a freelance web designer it’s tempting to feel as though you have to say yes to every project you’re offered but we urge you to take your time before accepting an offer or deciding to pitch work. Weigh up the level of work and, first and foremost, make sure the rate you’re being paid is fair. Finances are one of the most stressful things about working for yourself and you need to factor in time for edits, admin work and any potential snagging you may offer as part of your web design packages.

If a project isn’t the right for you, is too time-consuming alongside your other work commitments or doesn’t pay fairly then walk away. Be realistic about the work you can do and do well, and don’t get tempted to over-commit yourself as this will just lead to stress on your part and potential frustration on your clients’ part.

Find the Joy

Before you click away thinking we’re going all new age on you, hear us out on this one. There are times when working as a freelance web designer is difficult. Work may be sparse for a while, prices may be difficult to agree on and you may find you’re working long hours for little return in the first months or years.

When you’re feeling disheartened about your work we urge you to think about why you started and take some time to reflect on how far you’ve come. Look at your portfolio from last year to this year and be proud of the growth you’ve achieved. Perhaps you’ve made a profit this month for the first time, or you’ve just finished your tenth project. Maybe you’ve used a new programme for the first time or your designs have been used by a dream client. Whatever milestone you’ve reached, take a moment to enjoy the achievement and reward yourself for a job well done.

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With freelance work on the rise, and web design and development coming in as two of the sectors showing the most rapid shift towards self-employment, we hope our tips will help you get 2019 off to a great start. If you have any other tips for freelancers to keep productivity and motivation high then please leave them in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!

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