Being a freelance web designer means that you can wear many different hats on any given day. Although it’s a great freedom to be your own boss, at times it can become overwhelming, leading to that awful burnt out feeling. In order to keep your business on track and your mental sanity in check, there are a few skills required in order to become a successful freelance designer.
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1. Be Organized
Being organized means having stellar structure, discipline and habits. These traits will allow you to find the best methods to improve your efficiency when working on design projects. Making a list of priorities for each day is a good way to start. Listing tasks by importance will allow you to gauge what is a priority or what can be resolved later. Being organized also involves managing your time well and allowing a buffer for emergency tasks that may arise unexpectedly. Organizing your e-mails into folders specifically for different clients is also beneficial to eliminate the chance of overlooking tasks.
2. Plan Ahead
Thinking ahead will give your business a significant advantage. Staying organized when planning ahead is beneficial when slotting time for multiple projects. If high priority items arise, it should be easy to shuffle items around without falling behind on projects if you’ve effectively planned ahead of schedule. There are plenty of time management and project assistance tools online specifically for web designers that can assist you in planning ahead.
Multi-tasking is something every designer should be comfortable with. If you are freelancing, you will most likely always have multiple clients at once. Striving to keep your multi-tasking skills proficient will help you stay on track and keep you from postponing tasks you have been avoiding. Being organized will facilitate your multi-tasking and greatly improve your ability to stay on top of things.
4. Take a Break
It’s always been said that 80% of the work we finish is done in 20% of our time. Taking breaks from working is crucial for accomplishing anything. For example, I usually try and take a 15 minute break for every 1 1/2 or 2 hours of work that I complete. Even going for a walk or grabbing a snack and a coffee can allow your mind to rest temporarily. Allowing yourself to take breaks can end up being a good source of inspiration that is not directly related to your design projects.
5. Avoid Distractions
Eliminate distractions as a designer can be difficult, since clients, e-mail, phone calls and social media will always be a constant source of distraction. Social media is one of the biggest distractions, since it’s always available and easily accesible on your bookmarks bar. A good tip for avoiding these distractions is to schedule specific time when you want to browse your social media sites. Same goes for answering phone calls and e-mails. Scheduling times when clients can call is a great way to avoid being distracted from a project, especially when your on a roll. Turning your e-mail off for a few hours is also a valuable way of ignoring preoccupying disturbances.
Having the skills listed above will allow you to become more comfortable with your organization and multi-tasking talents, which will, ultimately, lead to more success and less frustration. Managing your workflow will help you feel more confident in the quality and effectiveness of your designs. Every freelancer has the power to become successful, it’s all about focusing on creating a business plan that works for you.