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An Informal Advice to Freelance Web Designers
Nowadays freelancing is becoming increasingly popular especially amongst young individuals. There is common notion that freelance is easy.
As the facts are showing the results, it is neither easy nor hard BUT it can be tiring and nerve-trying. Starting freelance is like starting a small business, you cannot really predict the risks and the income you will get. As opposed to working as an employee, You set your time, You build your "inner" team, You estabilish your deadlines and after all You have the responsibility to criticize your skills, your work and efficiency.
A key group of characteristics has to be acquired if we want to manage these negative factors properly.
"Binge-working": Adapt yourself to extra hours
Since freelance is not about fixed work schedules you are the only one responsible for your work hours. At first glance this sounds scary. For example, how can you work 16 hours a day in order to complete your portfolio and eventually make profit from it?
The more you work the more your self-esteem will improve
It can be annoying sitting all the time trying to improve yourself, but believe me, it is really useful. A common happening, the so-called feeling of Flow will never leave you alone. Even if you feel angry, anxious about your future, try to manipulate these feelings so that you can make profit of them. This means that adrenaline coming from anxiety may be converted into working energy, and if it is done correctly, results will show up even if you aren't aware about them.
Self-esteem: the one-way street aka the naive trader
The first trap of freelance lifestyle is low self esteem. Some common factors affecting it are early failures. Whether your skills are high or not, you'll encounter the same arsenal of negative psychological effects. Let say you still don't have a portfolio, and you start to browse the web in the hope to find a portal that offer opportunities for freelancers. Maybe you've already noticed 99designs.com from Google Ads. Yes it seems an alluring possibility. The first thing that may come up into your mind is money. But here comes the trap, you start following a bad workflow procedure and you end up being frustrated about your performance and quality of submissions. As you may have noticed, contest holders apply a myriad of styles in evaluating submitted works. Often contest holders do not reply at all leaving all the misfortuned ants (in this case designers) alone with a lot of wasted time and work.
Start off with low prizes
Do not work entirely for money, do it with the scope of gaining knowledge, learning, experience and above all, do it with passion. Some common mistakes are made when you struggle all the way to get the best feedback. After some time it may become frustrating and your motivation will start to fall.
Hard to concentrate? No problem, go learn something!
Yes, it may seem a bit ironic, but in reality it isn't. Let say you have finished a submission that lasted for 2 hours. Now you would see after other available contests but tiredness is trying to keep you pulling away from the workflow. A good option is to take a break, you are not obligated to think about coffee, lunch or toilet. Instead, think about opening up an Illustrator bible, or see how to implement new tools for more realistic and professional delivery.