Web Design is a really young and new profession compared to others. Before the creation of the Internet there was no existence of web design as a profession. In this article we take a look at some Web Design Myths, Difficulties and How to Cope with Them?
As we know the Internet is only 36 years old, you can only imagine there are not a lot of web designers wandering around. However, it is a growing profession that promises creativity, relaxation and doing something you enjoy.
Here, we are trying to point out how web design is perceived by society, some basic obstacles web designers have to deal with and some advantages and disadvantages of being a web designer.
Web Design is Legitimate Money Making Profession
The first appeal to the people of the world is that they need to accept and respect Web Design as a profession like any other profession out there. Here is why I am discussing it. First of all, web design is not a popular profession. How many people are walking by you on the street are web designers? Chances are none or very little.
How many parents wish their son would become a web designer when they grow up? People usually give you a “look” (web designer’s you know the look I am talking about) when you say you are a web designer major in school or a web designer. It could be because of their lack of knowledge or understanding.
Although the Internet has become really well-known in the world, I am afraid the people who create sites have not got that much social recognition.
Moreover, not many colleges offer web design courses. They try to stick you with programming classes such as C++ and other but that is another discussion.
People go on websites, watch movies, go on Facebook, Myspace and they do not think about the design or who did it? They do not need to. And whose fault is that?
As a web designer you can spread the word about professions and explain to people what you do and how we are the responsible ones for making their web surfing experience smooth and easy.
Maybe as time goes on people will know more about web designers and be more knowledgeable. In most of the interviews of web designers they explain that they absolutely love what they do, which is a very common thing among web designers. They are very fond of what they do and enjoy doing it.
The popular belief is that people cannot make money or live by designing websites, which is not true. Although not every web designer becomes a millionaire, they do earn money and make a living off it.
There are three types of categories of jobs you can do, freelancing on the side, starting your own business or working for a web design firm.
If you are working in a web design firm, its a professional atmosphere, you have to work in a team, meet all your deadlines.
But it is more relaxing and easy-going than other jobs. I am going into more detail on freelancing as a web designer.
The freelance life is one of the most difficult struggles with a lot of learning. But it also allows a unique sense of balance where you have majority control over your time management. This can be a curse or a blessing depending on how responsible you are.
Freelance work is unlike the commonplace 9-5 office jobs everybody seems to have. You can set your own hours around your full-time job, do work as you please and still set up some play time.
Keeping yourself in-check is the best way to mold a successful freelancer’s lifestyle.
The Benefits of Freelancing as a Web Designer
- You can be your own boss. Nobody will nag or breath down on your neck for finishing projects (But you have to be responsible yourself).
- You can create your own schedule for working. This is absolutely the best part. Some people are night people and some people are day people. Choose the best time slot that fits you.
- You get to do something creative. Create a brand, logo or website that represents something.
- You can deny a project or website if you do not like it, because if you are working in a firm you are required to do any project that you are given.
Okay, nothing is perfect. There is always a good and bad side to everything. Here are some things you have to worry about if you are starting as a web designer.
- It is not easy to get clients when you are starting up because there are many talented web designers out there. Why should someone new hire you instead?
Solution: An impressive or at least decent portfolio is a must. Your portfolio should speak for yourself and show what your skills are. Read up on creating a good portfolio, look at other People’s portfolio design for inspiration and come up with your own.
Think of what makes you unique and how to grab the visitor’s attention.
- You created a portfolio but nobody still knows you.
Solution: After creating a killer portfolio you are not finished. How do you let people, agencies and companies know that you are here to design their site? Promote your site on CSS galleries, Guest blogs for popular design blogs like The Logo Creative, start your own blog and share useful web design related tips and freebies.
Create a business card. Hand it out to friends, family and everyone. This way you get more exposure.
- You have some website projects and some clients but still need more financial support.
Solution: One of the things to do after you get some experience in the web design industry is creating a professional web design blog. In this blog you can share your experiences, techniques and ask your web designer friends to guest blog.
And the way you can make money from this web design blog is by adding google ads, BuySellAds and many other websites where you can earn money by selling ads.
If you can establish a reputable blog with good traffic the money will come.
Tips for Balancing a Freelance Lifestyle
When it comes to business you need to have an action plan. Maybe you don’t need to worry so much about priorities around the house.
But as a freelancer, it’s imperative that you take down some form of priority. A small to-do list, tasks, or even a calendar system.
Having something physical or digital to quickly glance over gives a stronger sense of the work. You know the priorities aren’t just words on paper and you also understand the steps required to complete them.
It may take a few weeks to fine-tune your task management system. But once you have something working, stick to it and allow this to become part of your daily routine.
Work Ahead of Time
It can be very difficult to keep your head above water with freelance projects. When first starting out it may be quite the struggle, even landing one or two jobs. But as you land more clients it seems like the work will not slow down!
Plan ahead for this rush and don’t let yourself get caught up in the moment. Extra money is great, but working under pressure is not the best solution.
Your work quality will deteriorate and it may be difficult to keep in touch with all your clients. Never mind the problem of keeping up to date with heavy deadlines.
Projects on a tight schedule will require much more attention than most. have a process to keep ahead of schedule for every freelance project you accept. This means you’ll never be in a state of lacking and rushing to get some new adjustments out the door.
Of course, this isn’t always possible – but do your best to keep ahead of all due dates. You’ll feel much more relieved come pay day.
You can skimp by on many smaller projects with just e-mail messages and IM chats. But working freelance on projects with 4 or 5-digit budgets should require some phone conversations or even face-to-face meetings.
The business world is all about efficiency to the highest degree. You need to offer your absolute best and remember that first impressions count! Professionals will not waste time on amateurs and it’s your job to prove that you know what you’re doing.
Communicate your skillset and what your strengths are. This is always best illustrated through prior work examples of websites and graphics. Clients are impressed with the actions and real tangible products – words can only go so far.
But also keep in mind that honesty is highly valued and you should always keep your word.
Avoid Detrimental Planning
You will likely spend at least some time planning out the freelance projects you work with. This can get your mindset focused on a specific idea or set of ideas. But there is a point where planning becomes derivative and you start to drift off course.
Get just enough down on paper that you know what the goal is and start moving! No matter how good your ideas may be, they will not get anywhere unless you take the time to build them. And even by over-analyzing these ideas you may find yourself stressed and trying to overcompensate.
Think of your pre-planning stages as just an experiment. You’re trying out some ideas to see if any catch wind – but nothing is set in stone.
After a couple days you’ll have so many ideas down it will feel like a struggle to push through the initial barrier.
I have a suggestion to start small and work in minimal increments. When you have an idea for your minimum viable product it’s easier to push that out the door.
After tweaking your initial concept you’ll have time for additional features, widgets, design updates, whatever. Freelancing can be harmonious when you have planning and working time in balance with each other.
Another great tactic for managing your freelance work is by partnering up. There are tons of designers and developers out there who are more than happy to work on a joint venture.
This may require some marketing, but the benefits are worthwhile.
If you are landing any high-paying freelance gigs, then this option is spectacular. You can manage to outsource some of the more complicated work (either design or coding) to other talented individuals.
If you’re managing the payments well enough, you can still pay another freelancer and walk away with a hefty profit.
Limiting Work Hours
Work ethic is very important if you have any hope of succeeding in life. But there is a point where you can push things too far, working enormously long hours. This will result in added stress where you’ll eventually burn out.
Be sure to step away from the computer every so often and take a break! Your brain can use free thought patterns to creatively solve issues you’ve been having.
Additionally, you can sit down with a clean slate in your head and approach problems from a different angle.
Whatever you do to unwind is just as essential as your work schedule. At the end of the day, make sure you hop offline and enjoy time with family and friends.
There is so much to experience in the world and having such a balance in your life offers a broad spectrum of opportunities.
The point for writing this post is to spread words about web design and sharing some information for new or old web designers. However, everything I wrote comes out of personal experience or heard from someone.
Everyone can have different experiences and information about web designers. By the way, every person should know the most basic things he/she can face before starting a career. Please share it so other web designers can benefit.
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John M. Caviness is a successful marketing manager at MeowEssay. This job gives him an opportunity to express his opinion and thoughts on different topics including web development.