I have been working as a freelance web designer for around 4 and a half years, but I have also been working at an agency for the last two and a half. The agency journey has been neat. I just need to move on for my own sake – my personal energy, my legacy as a web designer, and yes my long-term bottom line. I by no means think everyone should do this – you have to have a special kind of initiative, and be really driven and motivated by constant learning and be a bit aggressive.
What has changed over the years?
I’ve seen my salary rise, and what I can charge for a website rise as my quality has improved and my creative process include a stronger goal orientation – a stronger understanding of what effects client’s bottom line. What I’ve realized if you make people money, they are more than happy to help you make money as well. And yes, I do love making money.
Eventually you need more than passion
But I love having fun and doing meaningful work too. I’m passionate, but so are a thousand web designers on Craig’s list – and so the expertise has grown over the years and I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve gotten enough 50 hour weeks, enough awesome web design projects because I was aggressive to now have come fairly close to the 10,000 hours it takes to be an expert.
A new journey with a new office
I’m an expert visual designer and an expert WordPress developer – I’ve finally faked it til’ I made it. But I’ve never made it – I believe I will stay in ‘beginner’s mindset’ for years to come, as I venture out on my own here as a full-time freelancer. I’m now going to exercise my skills as a real small business owner / freelancer/ contractor and deal more intensely with the small amount of overhead I’ll have moving into my new office in the North Loop of Downtown Minneapolis.
Letting the fear drive me to work harder
It’s exciting. It’s scary. I believe I will succeed – but I’m not taking that for granted. I hope this process is somewhat interesting for people that are considering freelancing, and even if I fail – I intend to share that story with people. Because life is too short to let fear paralyze you, you have to let it drive you. You have to let go and sprint towards what you’re afraid of – if what you’re afraid of is the key to your long-term happiness and success.