Posted on by Glen Wheeler
Working life is pretty tough for everyone. Nothing gets easier, nothing gets cheaper and finding well paid work is extremely difficult. A saturated industry where every man (or woman) and their dog owns a 'Web Design' or 'Web Development' company. I mean, come on, that alone is one of the major problems for us all as freelancers. It doesn't matter if someone can do the job cheaper than you, just make sure you are able to choose your own clients and do a real good job.
I have written this article as I wanted to talk and share some of my experiences from the past 5 years or so, which may help others find and discover some great new clients and some awesome well paid projects.
I have been working as a freelance Web Developer for the last five years, as well as working three years for a digital agency in Newcastle upon Tyne as a Web Developer.
I'd like to start off from when I left University, just over four years ago. After working through two degree's, one degree in Web Technologies and another degree in Computer Science. I left University with high prospects, hoping (thinking...) I would be able to jump straight into a job. Easy, right? Two degree's who's going to turn me down? Little did I know, I was going to have to put up one hell of a fight to get to where I wanted to be, and that of course was to be working for a company gaining some real life work experience, in a team of creative and technically minded people.
When I left University the UK had just gone into 'Recession', everyone was complaining about money, job losses and so on. Four years on, as I write this article on my flight from London to Warsaw, we're in the exact same position as we were back then. People still moaning about money, jobs and increasing prices. The recession doesn't bother me now, and it didn't really bother me back then, I feel it's no excuse for us to sit back and wait for things to happen, instead we should look at the positive side, and that is, that we are a driven bunch of people who are looking to change the web and possibly the world for the better.
I believe if you have the drive, and the thirst for knowledge then you will always be on the right track to be successful in your job and in your career.
So, finding that work and that perfect client. Lets take a look at mistakes I've made and lessons I've learnt.
So, where do you start? There are lots of resources out there, and for some very odd reason our industry seem very much embarrassed to use them. People who do use the services also seem to be embarrassed to tell others they use them. Heck!? I'm an extremely proud user of both People Per Hour and oDeskesk (now Upwork). Websites you can simply sign up to, to find specific work and projects in your area of work, whether it's Web Design, Web Development, Illustration and so on. If you are not aware of these websites, be sure to take a look by clicking the links above.
The services/websites named above have a real reputation for people logging on, and posting jobs with ridiculous budgets. Take the one below for example. This was a screen shot taken recently, that to me is completely absurd.
However, it all comes down to you making the correct choice. Do you take the project or dont you? As a professional freelancer or as a company owner you should know your own rates whether its per hour, per day or by month.
This is the most vital step you'll make, you either commit to the project and deliver what is needed on budget, or you dont take the project at all. Some key point stated below will help you make that decision.
Following these few simple bullet points will allow you to choose your own clients, be happier in your work and allow you to work on some great projects and good budgets.
Always remember that the choice is yours. You can choose not to use such services as mentioned above. You can also choose not to work with certain clients on the websites. Let's stop complaining about who posts the bad briefs, we all know ourselves that we dont need to go after them. Find the right job and find the right clients to start producing some really awesome work, and get the rewards.
Truthfully? It opened up a whole new working world for me. I now have many clients from People Per Hour and oDesk, some on monthly retainers and some I do work for every now and again. One client of mine in particular are quite something. I came across the client in question via oDesk and managed to gain some on going work with them simply buy following the points I have stated above.
I now have the client on a monthly retainer doing web development work, web applications and also travelling country to country setting up technical space for their conferences. Over the last two years I have visited some beautiful cities including Barcelona, Warsaw, Dublin, Edinburgh, Turin and Oslo. The whole experience has been absolutely amazing and i'm so excited about the future with all of my clients.
Below are some photo's from the last few years I've spent with them.
This was the final event of 2012, and what a great way to end a fantastic year. The photos below are taken at from the Pepsi Arena and The National Stadium. To the right of me (chequered shirt) in the final photograph is the boss (my client) Ian Nuttall.
Photos of myself and some of the attendees of The StadiumBusinessSummit at the after conference meal. We then went on to party in the city at a great Irish bar! I think i'll leave the photo's off-line. The bottom left photograph was taken from the roof of the Linghotto Fiat Test track, which was used in the movie "The Italian Job". Please note the video linked here is not my own.
This set of images were taken in Barcelona. Top left we have the StadiumBusinessAwards evening meal which was based in the stands of Camp Nou. The other shots are of the conference set-up and speakers, and photographs from the RCD Espanyol tour.
At the end of 2012 my client put on a little bit of a party for us all to show their appreciation. We flew out to the beautiful little area of the world, Tuscany, Italy for the weekend where we did some really awesome and relaxing activity's. Not to mention the partying till 6am. The sunset was really really something to remember.
Only you can push yourself. Only you make a different. Never give up.
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