Topic: Independent Web Design: Is it practical? (Page 1 of 1) Pages that link to <a href="" title="Pages that link to Topic: Independent Web Design: Is it practical? (Page 1 of 1)" rel="nofollow" >Topic: Independent Web Design: Is it practical? <span class="small">(Page 1 of 1)</span>\

Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From: A place surrounded by turkeys
Insane since: Jul 2006

IP logged posted posted 08-21-2006 17:43 Edit Quote

When I first completed my graduate school coursework in December 2002 I was unable to find an internship straightaway, so I ventured out and sought work as an independent web consultant until I could find a better (read: more steady) means of income. A few years (and several therapists & medications) later I find myself again in the web design field, and while I do enjoy my full-time job, I have been asked by several people if I do consulting outside of that job.

Would it be difficult to get an independent web consulting business going while working full-time? Have any of you had success doing so? If I do undertake the endeavour, how do I find work - by advertising, word of mouth, knocking on doors? And what are going rates, both one-time fees for simple sites and hourly rates for consultations, maintenance and updates?

Any help offered would be much appreciated...

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Minnesota
Insane since: Aug 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-21-2006 22:12 Edit Quote

I tried doing the same thing over the last year. I used to freelance and did very well with it, but at that time it was my only job and I wasn't married.

I am currently my companies IT/Web/Whatever else guy. Many of our clients have approached me about doing websites for them. Personally, I work a lot of overtime and when I do have some free time, the last thing I really want to do is work on another website. Of the 3 clients I ended up taking on in the last year, 2 were family friends, and 1 was as a favor to my wife's best friend who has a web design company that was overwhelmed with work.

Its not hard to find clients while having a full time job, in fact it might even help. Through your job you could possibly have an almost steady stream of clients (I know I could). The real questions are do you really have the time to devote to working with them? Will they be available to meet with you at non-normal business hours? Is it worth the hassle of dealing with all the aspects of your own business in your free-time? For me, I have decided that even though I could have a very decent 2nd income, I just don't have the time and its not that important to me.

If you do have a large amount of free-time, don't mind dealing with contracts and deadlines, or odd meeting hours, it could work out well for you.

Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Royal Horsing Ground
Insane since: Jan 2005

IP logged posted posted 08-22-2006 10:40 Edit Quote

Although I have no similar experience to share, I would think that you ought to be careful with having both a full time job and some freelance job on top of it, as it may affect you performance and the quality in both your "normal" and independent jobs.
Having said this, I have considered the option of having a part time job, say 3 to 4 days a week, leaving me 1-2 days a weeks to focus on freelance projects. I think this could be a really good balance. But of course, I suppose you still would have to be available to your clients for the rest of the time, now and then - which doesn't sound impossible.

I think it's a good idea if well thought through. Besides, you can secure yourself job this way.

Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Rochester, New York, USA
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 08-22-2006 13:51 Edit Quote

I work an average of 50 hours a week at my day job. I am currently keeping a single client on top of that and it is hard. Trying to split your time between the two and stay sane is a hard thing to do. It is hard to spend 10 hours coding and then come home and have to do more coding.

If I were working 35-40 hours per week, or had a part time job as opposed to a full time gig it would be different.

Dan @ Code Town

Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Minneapolis
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 08-23-2006 20:12 Edit Quote

I've been dabbling in freelance for a long time. Finally last year I moved across the country, and did exclusively freelance for several months. This January I did get a job again, but I made sure that my commitment is 30-40 hours at my discretion. That way I still have time to dedicate to my personal clients.

I find freelance work very rewarding, but you have to be careful. For one thing, you should avoid high-maintenance clients like the plague. I don't necessarily mean people that are demanding, but rather people that don't value your work. I'm talking about the kind of client who calls up furious that their site is down for one hour, but yet doesn't want to pay more than $5 / month. Or the people that think $1000 is a lot to spend on a website, yet have a laundry list of particular details that they want custom-designer and programmed.

As for getting clients, word-of-mouth is the only way to go. Rapport with the client is the most important thing in freelance, and a personal referral starts you off right. From there its just a matter of doing your job well, being honest, and talking to the client on their own terms. Clients come in all shapes and sizes, and have varying level of interest in the technical details. What will really set you apart is if you are able to discuss technical things at the business level. If you can accurately translate technical decisions into business costs, ROI, pros and cons you will be freelance gold.

I have one client who I work for on a straight billable hours basis who just tells me in general terms what they want and then I propose and implement solutions. They actually come to me for help with the decision making process at a very high level. It feels good, pays well, and really empowers me to do my best work. These are not the kind of people that are going to be bargain hunting on


Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From: A place surrounded by turkeys
Insane since: Jul 2006

IP logged posted posted 08-25-2006 16:36 Edit Quote

My situation is that I work 40 hours a week and have a somewhat decent amount of free time that could be turned towards at least 1 client provided the work required isn't anything extravagant. My FT job pays enough for me to keep my head above water financially, but only barely - I currently do not have enough money for a place of my own, upgrades to my PC, dates with my girlfriend or pursuing other hobbies save once in a blue moon. This is why I am considering taking on a consulting client.

jiblet: Are you referring to one's ability to see what a client wants to do, thinking technically, then telling the client how a solution will draw new clients and positively affect their business, or why one web solution is more viable & sensical than another?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

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