Advice for new front end web designers and developers

photo by Andrew Welch via unsplash
photo by Andrew Welch via unsplash.

I’ve been working as a freelance designer and developer for over 10 years. Through those years I’ve picked up some great tips and techniques about how to pickup new work and to survive.

As part of my mentoring series of articles I wanted to include some of those tips and tricks to help future generations of freelancers in my industry.

Specialise in one, know a little about all.

When I first started out in the industry, website design and development was still reasonably new and the roles that are now part of any web design project (UX, UI Design & Front end development) were usually all part of just one role. For me, it has always helped me out to know a little about each of the roles involved, even though I specialised in front end development.

You are a business.

The one thing you have to understand is that you are a business, you may have got into freelancing because you love what you do or because you wanted to be your own boss but freelancing is a juggling act of getting new work in, doing the work, managing the accounts, promoting yourself, etc. No doubt one or more of these tasks will take you outside of your comfort zone, but they must be done for you to survive. Try to plan your month so that each of these important tasks necessary to run a successful business is taken care of.

Partner with an agency.

Finding new work can be difficult. There are a lot of freelancers out there all bidding for the same jobs. Try to partner and build a relationship with someone who can feed you steady work. An Agency is usually the best partnership to look for, but there are others such as SEO companies, business development people etc.

Be careful though, don’t get complacent just because you have three agencies feeding you work. Try to diversify your portfolio as much as you can and seek new opportunities.

Side projects.

It is important to take yourself out of your comfort zone and learn new things as adding new skills to your CV will increase your employability. You will also need to follow trends in your chosen field, you won’t always get a live project to practice these new trends, so side projects can be a good way of keeping up with your field.

More to life than work.

Finally there is more to life than work, make sure you are not working every weekend and if you can, take holidays! Down time is important to the process and some of my best ideas have come to me when I’ve been off work.

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