In January of this year, I made a decision to start working for myself. I pondered all of the possible outcomes of that decision before I made up my mind. I wrote in a previous post about the decision and some of my reasoning behind it. It has been a solid 4 months since deciding to freelance, and what a journey it has been.
Struggling with feeling overwhelmed or overcommitted is something everyone has felt at one point, even without freelancing. Promises, commitments, and deadlines rule our lives. Immediately getting into freelancing, I noticed the ever present anxiety of “Oh shit, it’s due soon”; I wondered “How on earth will I be able to meet these deadlines?”.
A few things had to happen for me to be on time and make my clients happy. First of all, I learned how to say no. Many of my friends and fellow freelancers continue to struggle with this. If you are worried about not having a check later on, stop.
There is a problem.
You aren’t charging enough! When you get to the point as a freelancer when you feel overwhelmed, its because you should be. People need you for the service that you provide them. If they really need you, they will be willing to pay you more. There is a limited amount of time you have to offer, and it’s in high demand. It’s simple economics, really!
However, when I started charging more, my clients started to change. The people who were hiring me for jobs weren’t people who just needed a website – they were people who wanted guidance in building their products. They were people who truly depended on the service that I provide them for their products to be successful.
Being a good designer / developer doesn’t just mean doing good work. It means communicating efficiently and clearly. It means working hard with clients to make sure their product outshines their competition. Most of all, it means you have to focus!
Being a creative person, especially one who loves working for myself, means I hate being put in a box. It doesn’t work for me. Like many others, I often tend to have my hands on several projects at one time, both personal and freelance work. Learning how to focus on fewer projects has been an extremely beneficial thing, but I still haven’t nailed it down perfectly. It’s hard to do when there is so much to build and you have the desire to build it all.
Freelancing has also given me the opportunity to work on projects at events like HackNashville or travel to places like Miami for WordCamp Miami. It is easily one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It’s easy to get distracted with this much freedom, but I love the things that I create and I am paid for it. That’s enough motivation for me to work on things all hours of the day.
I highly encourage anyone who has thought about freelancing to do it. If you love what you build and do great work, you will succeed. If you are passionate about the projects you work on, you shouldn’t need to worry about rent or bills. Do good work and your clients will take care of you.