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Should I Become a Freelance Web Designer?

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What is a Freelance Web Designer?:

A freelance Web designer or freelancer can be just about anything you want it to be. Most Web freelancers work on all aspects of Web design and development - from creating the site design, to building the scripts for interactivity, to writing the content and taking the photos.

The following questions detail some of the common aspects of working as a Web design freelancer. The more of the questions that you can honestly answer "yes" to the more suited Web design freelancer is to you as a profession. Remember, however, that Web freelancing is only one way to work on Web pages. There are also jobs as Web designers, Web developers, Web writers and graphic artists, and Web producers. You may be better suited to one of these professions.

Are you interested in the Web?:

Most Web design freelancers love the Web. They browse it a lot and love reading other Web pages. While it's possible to do the work without enjoying the medium, if you don't like Web pages, eventually writing for them will start to annoy you. If you aren't interested in the Web, then looking for a job as a Web freelancer isn't a good idea.

Are you self-motivated?:

The biggest challenge that most freelancers face is motivation. It's one thing to be motivated to work on a project that has you really excited. But to be a good freelancer, you need to be motivated to work on accounting, motivated to answer emails, motivated to market yourself, and motivated to do the boring jobs that pay the bills. If you can't stay motivated after the first few months freelancing will become harder and harder to do.

Do you like to do it "all" when it comes to Web design and development?:

Many people who get into Web design freelancing do so because they just love every aspect of the Web and want to do it all themselves. If it's hard for you to let go of the programming or the design or the content, then you might be well suited to Web design freelancing.

Are you willing to network to find new clients?:

Web design freelancers have to be sales people as well as Web designers. You need to market and sell yourself to prospective clients. While there are some designers who attach themselves to one big client, this can be risky. It's better to have a wide stream of clients so that if one goes dry another might spring up. But in order to get these clients you hae to network and market yourself and your business.

Are you willing to work long hours?:

While it's certainly possible to set up a 10-hour work week, most Web design freelancers work a lot more than that. It's not uncommon for a freelancer to be called upon to work when the rest of the company has a holiday or is on vacation. Plus, you'll get a lot of jobs that need to be finished quickly, and the only time you have to do them is by working past midnight.

Can you handle uncertainty?:

By it's very nature, freelancing can be risky. You get a lot more freedom to do your own thing, but you don't have the resources of a corporation to fall back on. You'll need to be looking for clients and jobs, and you won't have benefits like vacation time and health care.

Are you able to work alone?:

Most Web design freelancers work from home or are fairly isolated from their co-workers. If you get lonely without a lot of interaction, then you should consider finding a partner or joining a freelancing firm.

You will also need a good phone demeanor to be a freelancer, as many of your clients may have no interaction with you beyond the telephone or email.

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