Creative Snap

Creative Snap

You need to set yourself apart to succeed in your freelance web dev business. To be truly great, you have to go beyond just being ‘good’. If, after years down the road, you’re still having trouble with your monthly bills, then you know something’s got to give.

Bureau of Labor and Statistics point out the US economy is embracing freelancing or self-employment like never before. In 2020, the number is expected to grow to 60 million people or 40% of the workforce. The question is will you be a drop in the bucket. And be just another starving artist like many before you.

If you’re feeling you’re in double jeopardy freelancing, don’t fret. As long as the CEO is alive, your chances of becoming one in an 8-to-5 job is zilch. Not in freelance. At the very least, your freelance web dev biz will you give you a shot at fame and fortune. Who knows? With a bit of luck, you could be the Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci this generation needs. The lives of successful freelancer web developers like Simon Carter and Emily should be telling. Travelling the world from Thailand, Spain, Indonesia, South Africa and back again after founding Greenbox Designs.

Well, we’re no prophets of doom. What we’re saying is if you fail to measure up, there’s a fat chance your dazzling portfolio website will amount to nothing. In this regard, the military is spot on: “Forewarned is forearmed.” Here are 5 of the worst freelance career pitfalls you need to steer clear from to succeed in your freelance web dev biz.

1.    Lack of Discipline 

It’s true. You’ve done away with those days when somebody can boss you around. But that decision also took away everything with it. In case you haven’t notice, there’s no free coffee anymore. Worse, no salary and no employee benefits. And certainly no company nurse to take care of you when you’re feeling under the weather.

In this be-all-end-all scenario, lack of discipline will kill your freelance web dev biz like a super-storm. And it will happen so fast you won’t know what hit you.

Why? Simply because you’ll be eaten by the competition.

Tim Van Buren, expert webmaster since 1998 points this out. “There is a lot of competition from a large group of people who have the same skillset: HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, MySQL. And some javascript frameworks... and "Wordpress experts" and on and on,” the pundit explains referring to projects at Upwork on Quora.

The truth is you need to push yourself. Without becoming a “self-starter”, everything will fall into the cracks, freelancing expert Susannah Breslin expounds on Forbes.  

The trick therefore is to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset. Think of yourself as a CEO of the newest tech start-up in the block. Would you laze around if you’ve invested millions? Of course not. To start, you have to get started.

Note, nobody is going to tell you to manage your finances. But you know very well what will happen if you don’t pay your internet bills, right? Or for that matter show up in a client interview.

As Laura Spencer, trusted expert on Freelance Folder detailed,” “To be frank, most clients don’t care if you write that article, design that logo, or translate that document during the day or in the middle of the night. As long as you respond to communications and meet your deadlines, you’re good to go.”

Guiding Light: Get that entrepreneurial mindset going. Regular reading from top sites like Entrepreneur, Small Business and the likes should give you a headstart. To manage your time, use online timer like focus booster. Also, RescueTime not only help you analyze how you spend your time online, it blocks distracting websites.

2.    Failure to Market Yourself 

So do I have to be a salesman now? You might want to put your hand in protest for emphasis. Well, if you’re pixel-churning skills is not yet latched to any Fortune 500 companies like Shell, you should. Who else is going to promote for you? 

Now, you may cringe at the thought. But you shouldn’t take this worst freelance career pitfall lightly as it could leave you with nothing at all. 

Many techies are notoriously branded as anti-social – sticking to their computers and sidestepping any direct human intervention whatsoever. If you fear marketing yourself, here’s a thought for comfort. Do you think Mark Zuckerberg would have spawned 1.86 billion monthly users for Facebook had he not brought the word out? A quick look at the late Steve Jobs pitching the iPad should spill the beans for you. 

Even the greatest of artists, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, had to find patrons to make their superb handworks known. 

Guiding Light: Get busy. It’s like fishing. The best strategy is to go where the business goes, marketing expert Daphne Mallory, Esq. details. Offline, network and attend seminars targeted at business owners (e.g., product launch). Dress up and get that business card ready. Online, have an aggressive social media presence and make sure your presence is felt in online forums. Attach that dazzling website portfolio in your email signature for credibility. If all else fails, you can always take a more direct approach. Pitch yourself at the top freelance job sites (e.g., Toptal, Upwork, 99Designs). If you want to up your sales skills, learning from world-renowned sales guru like Mario Martinez Jr., is spot on.


3.    Failure to Put Value on Yourself 

If your formula to succeed is to get every client you can find along the way, you’re inviting disaster. Know upfront, not every web design project you’ll find online pays. Even legit corporations could get you stiffed, if you’re not careful. Yes, this worst freelance career pitfall could leave you hanging unto invoices that fail to deliver those precious dollars. 

Now, if you’re thinking you can ‘down your client’s website’ for not paying, then you’re asking for trouble. A DDoS attack could land you 12 years in prison. When in fact, you could have managed the situation better right from the onset. 

It’s ok to work on meager income while starting. Those experiences however underpaid are your launching pad. But not setting your eyes on the greater prize, the high-paying web projects, is folly. It’s like taking formal training in medicine but refusing to practice as a medical doctor in a large hospital. 

Note, however, many web design projects will try to squeeze the blood out of you, wanting to get the most bang for their buck. 

It’s important therefore that you put value to yourself. Choose clients wisely. Better yet, target a niche. If you’re not ready, arm yourself. Learning a new programming language shouldn’t stop you from a 6-figure income in the future. 

Note, being identified as a ‘web dev generalist’ could make you a dime a dozen. As stipulated earlier, competition abounds for freelancer web dev with similar skillset. A quick look at Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey Results 2016 should be timely. 

Guiding Light:  Think strategic. Map your freelance career. Establish goals. Here, our “5 Best Tips to Explode Your Freelance Web Dev Biz this 2017” should help you. Also, studying the journey of successful web designers can go a long way to bootstrap your freelancing. 


4. Poor Client Management Skills 

Again, you need to do a reality check. Many freelance web devs mistakenly think that they can put themselves in a corner for life away from the real world. Quite simply, you can’t start receiving those precious dollars without having to talk to one single client.

No matter your UI or UX skills, you’d put a web design project in jeopardy if you don’t start polishing your ‘people skills’. Your jaw-dropping PHP, C++ or Javascript codes may get you the door but it cannot compensate for rude, unprofessional behavior. 

Designing a website could go on for months on end. That simply means you would have to coordinate people to finish things up. Renege on this and not getting paid is just a small price to pay. The worst part is you gaining a nasty reputation that will cause website design projects to shy away and trickle to nothing at all. Nada.

Guiding Light: The good news is client management is totally learnable. Ignite by reading “5 Best Kept Secrets to Awesome Client Relationships in Your Freelance Web Dev Biz”. To help you out, use project management tools (e.g., trello). Or you can professionalize your web design services a notch higher with Creative Snap. Let our SaaS workflow management platform take care of your client billing and online proofing – among many other things.


5. Inability to Take Care of One’s Self 

Without the traditional structures of a corporation, it’s easy for a freelance web dev to overwork to exhaustion.   As one of the worst freelance career pitfalls it can be costly. It could mean losing a web design project altogether – not to mention sabotaging your reputation.

The problem is you won’t see burn-out coming until it’s too late. If you think telling your client that you can’t meet the deadline is wise, think again. It only shows poor management skills in you, a negative trait most clients frown upon like the plague. Remember in freelance, you are only as good as your ability to deliver.

Another compounding reason is overcommitting. If you are cramming web design projects on top of one another, you might end not finishing a single one. Destroying your reputation in the process.

Guiding Light: Pace yourself. Plan your week ahead and incorporate down times. It’s a must. Productivity doesn’t mean working your butt off 24/7. The Pomodoro technique should help you. And yes, “To Get Your Freelancing to Greater Heights, Take a Vacation” is a good start.

Freelancing can be a lot of things to everyone. But for your freelance web dev biz to skyrocket, you got to own it up.

The reality is it’s a cold world out there. And if you don’t put up, your client is bound to tell you to shut up.

It’s for this reason that we strongly recommend you professionalize your freelance web dev biz with Creative Snap (CS).  Our SaaS workflow management platform is specially designed with you in mind. Its features are suited to take off major headache in client management touching on scope creep and online proofing for starters. So you can put your focus where you need it most.

And the best part’s it may just take one single trip to McDonald’s to get you started with CS. For your freelance business to face the world, it’s a treat!

See how Creative Snap can totally change the way you do business almost instantly – and how you can strategically position your company for growth.

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