During the last two years, the whole world turned to the internet in order to maintain their jobs through remote online work. We also used the internet to stay in touch with one another, for entertainment and shopping. Both business owners and everyday users realised the importance of a well-designed website, and for freelance web designers – business is definitely booming. With many people deciding to dip their toes into freelance work, I decided to put together a small guide for you, fellow freelancers, about mistakes a freelance web designer should avoid.
If you are a beginner web designer, it can sometimes feel like you need to over-deliver and over-promise just to land a client. Unfortunately, sticking to that school of thought can lead to some problematic scenarios.
Making a poor estimate of how much time you need to complete a project is one of the most common mistakes a freelance web designer should avoid. If you overstep your deadlines, clients will be angry and most likely won’t pick you for more work in the future. What’s worse is that, depending on your contract, you can suffer penalties or lose pay.
Productivity issues – procrastination and other time sinks
Let’s see if this sounds familiar:
You sit down at your computer to work, but then you realise you could use something to pick you up. A cup of coffee seems like a swell idea. You’ve still got the whole day ahead of you, so why not scroll through the news headlines or check social media while you sip on your morning cup.
Procrastination is a real productivity killer. However, it’s not the only culprit. Many beginners don’t know that many digital aids are free. Why not use a tool that can be of help to keep your productivity in check? Whatever line of work you are in, your goal should be to work smarter, not harder. Don’t equate time in front of the computer with effectiveness. Instead of doing everything the hard way, you should use whatever tools you can to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. Remember, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and it’s perfectly fine to take shortcuts when you can.
Not thinking about the contract
This one is a rookie mistake, but it stings so hard that no one will make it twice. However, it’s still best if you can learn from the experience of others and avoid this one altogether. It usually goes something like this:
You’ve landed your first gig, so now you are super excited that you are getting paid at all, and you want to get to work as soon as possible.
Congratulations to you, but there are still a few legalities you need to consider, the most important one being the contract. There are examples and free contracts you can download online. Additionally, you can ask other freelancers for advice. Join online communities for web designers and see if there are threads discussing the legalese of freelance work. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and it never hurts to be prepared.
Constantly changing demands is one of the mistakes a freelance web designer should avoid
Honestly, this mistake stems from your clients, but it is your job to recognise and stop it. Basically, it comes down to your client always coming up with new requests and changing what they want from the project. Even if it’s not your fault, changing what you need to deliver mid-project is one of those mistakes a freelance web designer should avoid at all costs. Sadly, if you don’t manage to talk sense into your client, the project can last much longer than you initially anticipated, and that can cause further delays. Your best course of action would be to sit down with your client and hammer out all the details and terms of the project.
Accurately define the deliverables and what happens if your client comes up with some last-minute ideas they would like you to implement. Of course, you should do this as soon as possible – ideally at the start of the project, so you know what you are dealing with and can plan accordingly. Talk to your client about even the most minuscule details and define the terms and conditions accurately. Most importantly, remember to get everything in writing.
Setting your rate
I realise this will be a sore topic for many freelancers; however, it is still something we need to discuss. How to define your worth is a twofold problem that can be perplexing for beginners. Setting your rates either too high or too low can come with a few issues.
Novice web designers often struggle to find the perfect amount which won’t cost them lost wages or clients who can be driven away by the price. Negotiating is a skill you will need to learn as a freelance web designer, and you’ll need to be a fast learner if you plan to start making money.
- Setting your rates too low:
Clients will probably overlook you and think you can’t deliver the quality of work they are looking for. When you do get work, you won’t be paid much. Even if you cut your prices, you still might not be the cheapest option because someone can slash their prices even further. This can lead to an endless cycle of devaluing freelance work, which will leave everyone broke. It may seem ironic, but to be taken seriously, you need to affix a serious number to the work you produce.
- Setting your rates too high:
On the other hand, if you end up charging too much, you can scare away clients who aren’t willing to pay. Also, people might get the wrong expectations, and you will be asked to deliver a high-quality website with state of the art features.
The bottom line
Unfortunately, when you are just starting out, there are so many mistakes a freelance web designer should avoid that it’s almost impossible to dodge every single one of them. However, this shouldn’t dishearten you. Like everything else in life, web design is a learning process, and you will get better over time. Chin up and start working on that new website!
Find the best solution for your business.
Do you want a successful website?
If your business is not harnessing the Internet’s full potential, it's time to contact a reliable, trustworthy and affordable web designer.