AMPlifyME discusses 4 freelance webdesign mistakes

4 mistakes I’ve made as a freelancer

I’m fast approaching my 2 year anniversary as a freelance web designer and marketing person (I don’t say it out loud, but I consider this being a freelance marketeer – in my head I’m think of musketeer!)

Over the last few days I’ve had to sit back/been awake at night evaluating where I am and where I’m going!

I’ve been very lucky with my web design and digital marketing work, getting some great local Devon businesses to work with, usually having enough work and generating new leads purely through recommendation. There’s a month to go, but it looks like year on year I will have increased my sales by 20{56e242a5b6133d6ea308e8a3295681fe2673e4dcbe4f550044505754735ed754} (and when I go through things, I hopefully won’t have increased my costs by the same margin). This sounds like a great position to be in, but… looking long term, I’ve had to ask myself a few questions….

What is the future for me as a freelance web designer in Devon?

As I’m sure many freelancers and self-employed people find, how when and where the money falls is extremely important, perhaps the most important thing as I try to support my young family.

I love what I do, but having recently done my self-assessment tax return (with the help of Lisa from Ivybridge Accountants and Freeagent), having a few unexpected bills, and an upcoming 2 week holiday – which is both positive (time off, hopefully in the sun) and negative (if I ain’t working, I ain’t making any money, and there’s no holiday pay when you work for yourself), a few self-truths have come to light.

So, looking back over 2 years where have I gone wrong?

(NB this isn’t all negative, I may well follow up on the things I’ve got right)

  1. Do as I say, don’t do as I do.

    1. As a digital marketeer, I spend my time creating content for others, and if I’m on a retainer – keeping their website up to date, or telling them they need to do so. Have I been religious about doing this fro myself?  NO
    2. I tell my clients to make sure if they start a blog, to keep it up to date, otherwise there is no point in having one. Again, back to me – NO
    3. Always ask every client for a review or recommendation. NO
  2. Strategy

    1. The original strategy for my business when I started was quite focussed in a particular area of my expertise, but more importantly, the business model was based on a subscription idea. This meant that not only should growth be quite easy to track, and after a while forecast, but having clients paying on a monthly basis for ongoing work there would mean less unexpected surprises on when work, and in the end pay end up reaching me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some great projects and will continue to work with a diverse range of businesses, but to have an idea of how much is coming in 6 months time would be fantastic – and offer the potential for a holiday with less stress and guilt attached, even the ability to pass some regular tasks onto someone else for a week, or get some done in advance.
  3. Counting chickens!

    1. You meet a new client, they say it’s urgent (always is), you work frantically to fit it into your schedule, even possibly risk reducing your service to some existing clients, all for things to get delayed, potentially by months by the new client, and depending on the pay structure resulting in a mismatch of what you expected to come in when. I need to learn to pace myself – sprinting towards a non-existing finish line just leaves you out of breath! I need to make the client understand the timeframes, but similarly that they are likely to change – often due to the client themselves For larger projects, I need to spread the payments more evenly through the project to ensure there is a trickle of money coming in.
  4. Pipeline

    1. I have been extremely lucky concerning work coming in – there have been a few times when I’ve been unsure as to what I’ll be doing next week, and so far, over 2 years something has always fallen into place. Last year my new years resolution was to attend networking events – like many resolutions it didn’t last, I attended 2 events, abd did actually get one potential client call me a couple of months later based on hearing my introduction at one fo them.  Even with two years of work coming in by recommendation and a growing portfolio of work, two years of networking would have left me with more people to call on when work look lite – or even helped me increase the size of my business.

Watch this space for ongoing blog posts, clients reviews and website updates – or call me out on being full of crap!

Click here to take a look at my portfolio (soon to be updated!!!) and here to get in touch