Being a freelance web designer in Sydney, or any city for that matter, is tough. There are many pros and cons that I will try to cover in this article. I have been working in Sydney for over 10 years and have found a number of factors that can help you if you are (or are considering) becoming a freelance web designer.
Freelance web designer benefits are in Sydney
You can be your own boss – Being your own boss is a good thing. You manage your own time… you are responsible for yourself and choose which clients you work with. As a freelance web designer you also have to be very disciplined. You have to push yourself to get work done, but also make sure you don’t overdo it and work around the clock. Most freelance web designers I know suffer from the latter! Taking regular breaks and getting work done at a reasonable time is just as important as making sure you start work in the morning and don’t slack off.
You get to choose your clients – if you can choose who you work with, you’re usually doing work you love. I’m sure most web designers have worked for clients they didn’t like. This makes the project process long and tedious, and not fun to work on. Web designers and their clients need to understand that they are working together. If they are constantly bumping into each other and clashing over ideas, the work will become difficult. So my point is… as a freelance web designer in Sydney you don’t have to work for those clients. Choose the customers you enjoy working with. This way you enjoy your work, create better designs and get better results for customers.
You can ask what you want – this statement is not entirely true… you can only ask what you are worth, and more importantly, what your customers think you are worth! However, if you are a skilled designer, you are free to charge clients as much as you are willing to work. Some jobs can be tedious and not very enjoyable to work on, so charge more for those items than things that turn you on. It’s entirely up to you.
You have creative freedom – Every freelance web designer should know that creative freedom is crucial when working on a project. Design comes from within and everything is left to the viewer to interpret. You need the freedom to create what you see from scratch. Being your own boss means you don’t have a marketing department or micromanager to analyze your every move. You can design freely according to your preferences.
The cons of freelance web designer are in Sydney
Big clients may not find you – as a freelancer you don’t always have the resources to present yourself to big clients. You may not be able to compare your site to the bigger players, or you may not be able to afford to compete. Quite a few large companies may be concerned about hiring a freelance web designer. This is because there’s no security and they’re taking a risk when they hire you – you could leave halfway through the project, or (hit wood!) get hit by a bus and the client gets stuck halfway through a website.
You have to manage yourself – not all web designers have management experience. Even if it’s just managing yourself. As a freelance web designer, you have to consider many aspects beyond just designing a website. Most of us just want to worry about what concept we’re going to use or what color scheme and images we’re going to use, but unfortunately there’s so much more to running your own freelancer! Self-management includes:
Take care of your bill. That means invoicing, paying bills, paying taxes… We can’t handle all of that at first because we’re not accountants. One thing I recommend is to use the services of an accountant. There are also websites and programs that can manage your accounts for you.
Maintaining contact with customers. As a freelancer you don’t work with clients like an account manager or an art director. You must keep your customers informed at all times, including recourse invoices.
Organize your time. You need to keep track of how much time you spend on projects. This is very important – you may quote 32 hours, but if the job takes you 48 hours, you are cutting back on your hours. You also need to make sure that you divide your time evenly between the projects. It doesn’t matter if you only have two, three or four jobs, but if you have ten, fifteen or twenty jobs, you can get into trouble.
You work in a lonely environment – which is not always the case. There are shared offices everywhere where you can rent desks or small rooms. However, most freelance web designers probably work from home themselves. That sounds great, but it can get lonely. Not only that, but you have no one to turn ideas to or help you with your workload.
Find your own work – this is crucial. If you have previously worked at a web design agency or studio, you will be briefed by the art director, account manager, or sales team. If you work for yourself, as a freelance web designer, you need to find a job. Even if you currently have a lot of high-paying jobs, you still need to think about the next three to six months. This also intersects with your time management – you need to put time into your schedule to find more work.
Overall, working as a freelance web designer in Sydney can be very rewarding both financially and the way you live your life. As long as you have a plan for dealing with the negatives, the pros far outweigh the cons.