Really | Lifestyle of a Web Designer

Really | Lifestyle of a Web Designer!  As I was enjoying my favorite beverage at one of my favorite watering holes (coffee shop), my phone ranged.  It was a potential developer.  I am in the market, looking to hire a developer (on a free lance basis). She was running late, and needed directions.  I was about to determine her current locations, when the watering hole door open.  It was her.

I purchased her a cup of coffee and breakfast cake.  I gave her my elevator speech.  I was layoff in August 2007.  I wanted to go to Graduate School, but admission had closed.  I was over my neighbor’s house, he had just went into business.  He was not happy with his web designer. I had been creating sites as a hobby and offer my services.  He paid me $2,500.00 and JDS WebDesign, LLC was created.  That was close to eleven (11) years ago.

I told her, what my expectations are…let me know if you can handle the project? give me a time frame? let’s agree on an hourly rate? when can she begin? am I going to be her only client, or am I in a pool of designer?  She gave me the typical answers, some good…others questionable at best.

Then she asked me “so how did you stay in business for eleven (11) years?”.  Simple, I have adjusted with the web design industry.  In 2007, I hand coded sites with Adobe products (Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and Photoshop).  The process was very long and time consuming. In 2012, I was approached to manage a blog. It was a wordpress site.  I was in need of some cash, and agreed to manage the site.  I looked at youtube videos for several hours, hit the local Barnes and Nobles store for the latest wordpress books.  Less than a year later, I was a wordpress designer.

Next, I have taken advantage of the technology.  I have been supporting web sites since 2009. This residual income can be very good in times of slow months. I had an affiliate account with Godaddy.  It was great.  I set the prices. I gave my client’s godaddy’s number and they took care of billing issues, support questions, and service problems.  I just uploaded the client, and collected a check monthly.

“Would you mind mentoring me?” she asked.  Not a  problem…Really!  I have mentored many newbies in web design/development industry.  You have to grind and work hard.  You will need to create a marketing strategy.  You have to provide excellent customer services.  You need to know, that not all clients are good ones. Keep your finances separate, one for business and another for personal. You will need a good cpa.  You will need a good lawyer.

Finally (and the best advise, that I have ever received) you will need to make/take time for yourself.  Do at least one vacation?  Go to a wordcamp event (you can write some of it off), but stay the whole week.  There are wordcamp events in San Diego, Seattle, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Boston, etc (or you can go out of the country).

Image courtesy of Luke Chesser .

 

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