There are so many people working freelance jobs online that it’s almost become a revolution of new media. You can graduate fresh out of high school and start working on freelance gigs almost immediately. There is plenty of money to be earned, plus you can still educate yourself along the way.
I read a very interesting article discussing how there’s no speed limit when it comes to life. We are told to stick within the system, but once you’re out it’s all up to you and your own intuition to make a living. I really like this approach and I’d like to analyze how you can apply this mentality to a freelance lifestyle. It takes true passion to stick it out, but working online provides a very comfortable life compared with other professions.
The Top Tier
I’ve given a lot of thought towards this lucrative idea of no speed limits. It gives the feeling that some people want to work just for the money and don’t put in very much effort. However there are very passionate individuals who love building startups and coding websites and designing logos – these are usually the people who make the biggest impact.
I like to refer to this sect as the “top tier” of all professionals in any particular field. These are trend-setters who are always pushing through into the next project. Always constantly interested and researching new trends to keep up with the market. It will set you apart from every other freelancer because you’ll have the knowledge to back up your passion.
But getting yourself into the top tier of developers or graphics designers is not an easy accomplishment. It will certainly take years of practice, and you’ll need to be open when communicating with others. But this gives you an advantage where you name can slowly get out there into the hands of other professionals. I find that I’ve learned the most by listening and reading advice from other freelancers who have launched successful startups and gone through all the similar life experiences.
Working with Purpose
Once you recognize that you are often limiting yourself by quitting work to watch TV it’s still not any easier to stop. You’ll need to have days planned out in advance. This will give you a schedule with some tasks and to-dos you should accomplish as early as possible.
It’s always a better situation to be ahead of work and get extra stuff done rather than fall behind. Stick to work that’s running on a timed schedule and churn out your side-projects on the weekends or later in the afternoon. This gives a reason to hold yourself working even beyond normal work hours.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
I want to make a note that it’s very easy getting caught up in this hectic lifestyle of working all the time. You’ll find yourself pouring to the computer once you wake up and right before going to bed at night.
But please find the time to get some sleep! Nobody can function when staying up all night. And it’s no excuse grinding all night because “work is just too important”. The only reason you should pull an all-nighter is to finish a project which is literally due the next day. And even then it may be worthwhile to ask for an extension on the due date.
All your creative ideas are flushed away when you lack sleep. It’s difficult to think coherently and you’ll struggle with design, code, whatever it is that you do. Think of this relative speed limit as your working limit, and not your life limit.
You won’t often find a freelance team of more than 2 designers or developers. There are plenty of studios and smaller agencies, and in theory these could be considered freelance businesses. But any type of collaboration is difficult to find with freelancers. And obviously working with like-minded people can only aid in completing projects sooner than expected.
This is especially true if your partner(s) can understand the speed limit analogy. You want to have a team of 2-4 people really cranking out work every single day. It’s much better than a team of 20 who are unmotivated and just push through with the bare minimum. A small team offers the atmosphere to bounce ideas while still getting your work done on time.
Figure Out a Path
Ultimately I can’t imagine working freelance the rest of my life. It’s an exciting way to earn money while I’m young, but it’s not a full career. And this is how most freelancers feel – but not all of them. You should analyze your true intentions and figure out if you want to make a career out of freelancing, or just enjoy the lifestyle benefits for some time.
When you don’t need to work in an office 9-5 all week long you have the freedom to move about wherever you please. This freedom won’t always be available so it’s the best time for planning your future ideas. Some developers want to create a resume and go work for a popular tech company. I know many other freelancers who are interested in launching their own business ideas online.
Any path you choose should be something which resonates comfortably within yourself. There is no right answer. Something you can be proud of creating yourself, and something you’ll push through every day to keep moving forward. This won’t necessarily come to you within a week or even a month.
But the best time for brainstorming is right now! Each weekday night or during down time try coming up with some ideas, or browse around the Internet for inspiration. You can master these working techniques for your own speed limit and time management skills as a freelancer – that way you can apply them later in your own work. The smartest businessmen eventually realize that you cannot solely rely on anything or anyone but yourself to achieve these life goals.
Building & Further Education
There are generally two different kinds of work when exercising in your field. The first is typical work where you’re building a project or writing something for publication. The second is when you learning a new technique or programming language so that you can build a new project idea later in the future.
These are both equally important aspects of the freelancer’s lifestyle. You won’t get very far by studying web design for 2 years then working off that knowledge forever. At some point the trends will change, and you’d be wise to study these changes and keep yourself on the ball. If you can work swiftly there’s even the possibility you could research a topic right after landing a related freelance gig.
If you can split up the day into working and researching it will make things a lot easier. When you’re always in overdrive mode you’ll end up burnt out if you spend hours and hours every day working on the same stuff. I suppose you could argue our speed limit is restricted by how much an average human can process within a given 24 hour period. It’s definitely an exotic idea which I apply into my work practically every week!
I hope this article can get you thinking about how business works around the world. The connections and people you meet form a bond which can affect hundreds or thousands of other people. Once you realize there is nothing holding you back except low motivation and self-esteem, then the world is your oyster!
There are websites and online gigs for nearly every digital professional. Graphics designers, programmers, developers, server admins, writers, basically any task you can think of has moved into the freelance realm. Keep yourself educated and pushing boundaries, and I trust you’ll end up within the top tier of digital professionals.
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- The Kindness of Strangers: Developer Edition
- Advice for Beginners That Are Starting Out in Web Design
- Should a Web Designer Ever Provide Discounts?
- Growing Your Audience as a Designer