I’ll come right out and say it: I hate making decisions. Whether it’s deciding on the best hard drive to buy or choosing the itinerary for a day trip – the process makes me feel uncomfortable and anxious.
The origins of my struggle go back to childhood. I believe there is a combination of worrying about what other people will think and trying to please them. The irony is that uncertainty can be a source of frustration for those around me.
It’s also not lost on me that I became a freelance web designer. When running a business, a person has the ability to make many decisions – both big and small. How did I end up here?
Personal boundaries aside, we must be decisive for free exercise. And the direction we choose has a direct impact on our success and happiness.
With that in mind, here’s a sampling of some important decisions you’ll need to make. Along the way, I will share some tips to make the right choices.
What Technologies you can invest your time in
Volunteers wear many hats – but we can only carve a niche in many areas. Therefore, the technologies we adopt must be the right ones for us and our clients.
However, the decision is not always easy. Technology encompasses a large part of the web design industry. It covers programming languages, frameworks, content management systems (CMS), APIs, and all kinds of software.
Deciding what makes sense for your business is complicated by a wide range of options. Each has a learning curve, along with advantages and disadvantages.
The choices you make are also personal. It’s just factors like comfort level, long-term stability, and cost. Additionally, depending on the type of technology, it may not be easy to switch gears later.
You may have established a workflow before becoming a freelancer (lucky you). For the rest of us, there are a few dozen decisions to make.
Setting Prices and Terms
If you plan to pay for your work, pricing is a big decision. It can also be the worst for freelancers.
First, you need a pricing structure that ensures you can make a living. Not only do your rates need to boost your bottom line during good times – but they also need to sustain you during bad times.
From there, it’s worth thinking about your place in the market and the type of clients you hope to work with. Most of your competition will not be publishing their prices. So, you may have to do some sleuthing to determine the current rate.
plus, how the price of your services is just as important How many charge you. For example, will you charge an hourly rate or set pricing on a per-project basis? A combination of both may even be appropriate in some cases.
All told, the goal is to implement a pricing structure that allows you to thrive and provide value to your ideal clients.
How to Manage Client Relationships
When it comes to working with clients, there are some key choices to make. Each affects your business in the short and long term.
Perhaps the biggest decision is whether to continue a client relationship after a project is launched. Do you want to be in the loop for ongoing maintenance? Or would you rather give the finished product away and move on?
The path you choose has a direct impact on your finances and the type of clients you work with. Long-term relationships are a great way to produce recurring income – but it also means more responsibility.
On the other hand, working on short-term projects may mean keeping a fully booked calendar so you don’t miss out on income. It also limits your potential customers to those who are comfortable with this type of setup.
Then there are decisions about how you handle client requests, support, meetings, and project estimates. Together, they will determine a lot about how you spend your time.
Making Business Decisions (Without Too Much Trouble)
Given my aforementioned phobia of decision-making, you may be wondering why I dedicated an article to it. There are a few reasons.
First, it is an important part of being a freelance web designer. Uncertainty in certain areas can lead to major struggles. Let them go too far and the choices can be made for you – instead with with you. And there is no guarantee that you will like the result.
Additionally, I found that it is possible to improve determinism over time. By thinking about these decisions and preparing for them, you can gain more confidence in your ability to make them. This makes the process a little easier.
And even if things don’t work out, there is often a chance to revisit your decisions. You can change your pricing structure, adopt a new workflow, or change client policies. We all make mistakes. The bright side is that most things are not set in stone.
So, if you’ve been putting off some important decisions for too long – it’s time to think about taking a stand. If I can do it, you can!