View Full Version : Resources for Freelance Designers

03-19-2009, 03:07 AM
Found a list of resources for freelance designers (http://www.thedesigncubicle.com/2009/03/28-must-read-articles-for-growing-your-freelance-design-business/) and thought I'd share. I haven't read most of the articles mention in the post I linked to above, but it looks like some well-rounded advice.

I think the articles could be of help to freelancers in any industry, but since they were put together by a designer I assume they were selected with an eye toward design freelancers and a few of the resources are specific to designers and it's why I decided to start this thread here.

One thing I've learned over the years is it helps if you can put some processes in place. I haven't always been good about this, but as an example lately I've been building a library of reusable code snippets to help speed development. Evey navigation bar or menu I build starts the same way so why rewrite the code.

Other processes I'm still working on are on the business side. I've been trying different applications the last few months to help with time management and project management and making better use of contact managers. I think often designers go the route of spontaneity and creativity and easily overlook some of the business side of our businesses.

The snippets and management software have definitely been saving me time the last few months and are helping me take on more work, which naturally leads to more revenue. I guess the best advice I can offer is run your design business as a business.

Have any tips you can share? What's helped you in running your design business?

03-19-2009, 10:11 AM
Thanks Steven. As I just looked over the post, I saw things that can help me along. I need some resources for further business development.

03-19-2009, 10:30 AM

One of the links from that page led me to ,
Freelancers: Here’s Why You Need a Blog - FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog (http://freelanceswitch.com/general/freelancers-heres-why-you-need-a-blog/)

interesting article , but maybe more interesting comment from Michael Martine.

Just thought I'd share and I'd be interested what folks here think about Michael's comments.
Don't know the man just thought he made an intelligent response.


03-19-2009, 12:28 PM
Glad to help Bryan.

Interesting Gregg. A couple of things first. I read Freelance Switch and think it's a great blog and I also read Michael's blog Remarkablogger (http://michaelmartine.com/). Michael's business is blog consulting and he knows a lot about it.

In this case I don't think the original post anything special and I understand why Michael objected to it in his comments. The posts makes it seems too easy to run a successful blog and could leave one with the impression that all you really need to do is have one in order for it to help your business. That's not true. Blogs can be a lot of work and you should understand why you're blogging and what goals you hope it will help achieve.

I mostly agree with what Michael said. I do think you need to host the blog yourself, ideally on your own site. I also agree that too much blogging advice out there is meant for the pro blogger who's sole business is the blog. I'm not sure though that you have to see your audience only as people looking to buy your products or services, though I think that should be a big part of your audience.

To me it's more about having a plan in place for why you're blogging. Most people just get a blog somehow and write anything without really having any strategy in place. They're blogging because someone told them to blog or because they've heard a blog is important. Most of those blogs end up being quite useless. You have to think about why you're blogging and what the purpose of your blog is. It might be lead generation, it might be a tool for SEO, it might be a way to humanize you to potential clients and customers, it might be to build a community around your products, etc.

You should know why you're blogging and what you hope to achieve and in so doing have a direction for your blog to guide you in writing posts. You have to do a lot more than just have a blog and write some posts.

03-19-2009, 12:57 PM
Thanks Steve,

I guess I'm going to have to spend some time on the why. One of my problems is making time to do it. Another is topics. I would prefer to write about things that I actually know something about or at least have a keen interest in. As I read your comment, the part about << way to humanize you to potential clients and customers >> hit a cord. In addition providing stuff I've learned that might save someone else grief.
At least I took the time to create one on my own site.

Appreciate your comments.


03-19-2009, 01:11 PM
Glad to help. I do think it's ok to jump in and figure some of this out while you're blogging. Truth is at first not many or even any will be reading your blog until you have some posts and start marketing. That's not to say you can't build a blog quickly, but for most people the first few months feel like you're writing for and to yourself.

With your topic you want something broad enough for their to be topics, but also look for a niche within the largest topic so you can stand out some from the crowd.

I see two posts on your blog right now and both fit nice with your site. You're offering good and helpful advice to people. They also show you as someone who knows what he's talking about, which should help people trust you more when reading your sales copy. Also by being helpful you can get people to come back again for more advice.

03-19-2009, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the links vangogh, I will be sure to check them out tonight.

I would certainly agree its worth creating a database of code snippets, I recently developed a class for handling login/registering/session management, as every site I ever create always seems to need this, now I have a library I can reuse, rather than reinventing the wheel each time. Not only does this reduce development time, but it also makes your code a lot more stable and secure. I plan to continue doing this for other frequently used snippets of code.

As for developing processes, this seems to be a common issue across a lot of businesses, not just web designers. Many still rely on paper based systems for contact management and job tracking etc. Most managers seem to concentrate on running the business, and worry about the paper trail later, rather than planning it out and making the trail work for them.

I have done a lot of work recently developing internal systems for companies to automate such procedures. Its something I intend to continue to target on a freelance basis.

03-19-2009, 03:04 PM
As for developing processes, this seems to be a common issue across a lot of businesses, not just web designers

Absolutely. I even hesitated starting this thread in the design and development forum since all the advice really applies to all businesses. I started it here though, since there seemed to be a design bent in the way the articles were collected.

It took me longer than it should have to really begin developing processes. Early on in business there's more time to go around than clients so it didn't feel necessary. It didn't take long though to realize I needed to find more time in order to be able to work with more clients and that set the process wheel in motion. I see better now how valuable it is to have processes in place where you can.

Building a code library is one of those things I should have started long ago, but at least the library is started now and growing daily. I'm grabbing code I find online and saving my own code from the sites I work on. Anything I may use again or have a hard time remembering is getting saved.

03-19-2009, 03:10 PM

Thanks for the kind words.

Someone sent me a link to this site the other day and it fits the title of this thread. Lot's of stuff to look at. Note however that many of the sites listed for inspiration don't seem to be live sites which I found kind of curious.

here's the link:
43 PSD to XHTML, CSS Tutorials Creating Web Layouts And Navigation | 1stwebdesigner - Love In Design (http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/tutorials/43-psd-to-xhtml-css-tutorials-creating-web-layouts-and-navigation/)


03-19-2009, 06:12 PM
Thanks Gregg. I'm subscribed to 1stwebdesigner and have the post you linked to bookmarked already. I think the reason many of the sites aren't live is they were simply meant as tutorials for how to convert a PSD image to an actual site.