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The end of the year is often a time for reflection and appreciation. This year in particular has been a tough time for many people all around the world with the Covid pandemic and resultant economic, social and mental health issues. Consequently, in this article I’d like share some insights into my working life that I can keep in mind to approach 2022 with a positive mindset. 

1. My Freelance projects are varied and interesting.

Ever since I commenced self-employment as a website designer some 10 years ago I have never sought out a specific industry to promote my website development work to. This is because I find that I gain more satisfaction in completing a varied selection of projects.

Consequently, I have worked with companies as diverse as University Chaplaincies, London-based musicians, Property companies, Hospitality and events businesses, US-based drilling manufacturers, artists and others. Each of these businesses has approached me with different requirements and target markets but fundamentally the end result has been the provision of a modern, stylish, mobile friendly website and ongoing technical and maintenance support when required.

The diversity of the businesses I have worked with has also enabled me to meet a diverse range of clients from many different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. I believe this has given me an optimistic outlook on life and enabled me to build relationships with different types of people inside and outside of a work environment.

2. Every day I learn new skills and face new challenges.

My skillset encompasses a wide range of website development and graphic design capabilities. This is reflected in the multitude of services that I can offer my clients.

A typical day may consist of face-to-face client meetings or Zoom meetings to start the day, before moving onto some logo or flyer design. I like to split my day into sections so the next part could be getting stuck into some precise handcoding of HTML/CSS/PHP and Javascript for a regular contract client probably followed by a stint working on a brochure-type WordPress website for a local independent business.

Occasionally, I will work on the same project all day if is close to the deadline and I have all the information, content and feedback that I require to complete the work. Usually though, as there may be a time-lag in between completing sections of a website and awaiting feedback or additional content, I find myself swapping between tasks, which keeps things fresh and interesting.

3. I am my own boss.

One of the main reasons that people choose self-employment is so that they can in charge of their own business affairs. There can be drawbacks to this, such as a lack of holiday or sick pay and the pressure of having to maintain a level of business to get paid. However there can be several positives. For me, being able to work flexible hours is a significant bonus. I tend to work a few hours in the morning and then in the afternoon I may go to the gym, shops or spend some time on one of my other creative pursuits such as painting, writing or music. Then in the evenings I often return to work again. I still work a full time week of 40 hours or more, but by breaking up my day I find I have more motivation and can also follow my other passions. This can also be of benefit to my clients, some of whom prefer to contact me in the evening.

Another benefit of being your own boss is that you can set your own level of renumeration to get paid what you believe you deserve. This is reliant on attracting the right projects with a beneficial price-to-timescale ratio. Once you have these in place it can be a liberating feeling to be managing your own business.

4. I am able to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

Obviously the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more difficult, if not impossible, at certain times to travel abroad for the past 2 years. But in normal times the nature of my website and graphic design work means that I can complete my projects anywhere that I have my laptop and a fast internet connection.

Whereas it can be counter-productive to be working whilst I’m meant to be taking a break or on holiday, there are also times when I can take a short city trip but still attend to any urgent work that comes in. There have also been times where I have considered taking a working holiday abroad for a month or two over the British winter time. After all, there is something to be said for embracing the extra sunshine and warmer climate of the Mediterranean whilst still being able to complete my projects. Unfortunately Brexit and the Covid situation have made that possibility more unlikely for the time being.

Another benefit that I like to embrace is that I can work in transit. So, often, if I am taking a train journey to another city for work or to see friends and family I will take my laptop on board, connect to the WiFi and work during the journey. Personally I find it relaxing and motivating to be completing projects whilst the world flies by the window (as long as I can find a table seat, that is!)

5. I can work with clients all over the UK and globally without meeting in person.

Often I will meet my clients in person for an initial meeting to agree a project. If they are local to my location, potentially there will also be subsequent meetings as the project is in progress and on completion, depending on the nature of the work. However, technology has made it possible for me to undertake an entire project from initial brief to final handover entirely remotely.

This has enabled me to complete website and graphic design projects for clients in London and the South East of the UK, South West Germany, New York -USA and Illinois-USA in addition to many clients  all over Yorkshire. I am now able to communicate using email, free WiFi calls and messages, Slack and Zoom. Additionally, because my work is web-based, I always supply a working prototype of my website prototypes on a private test server so that my clients can provide feedback. Please contact me if you have any questions or enquiries regarding my working processes or for a free quote.

As with any job, occasionally there are days that are more stressful or don’t go as planned but I’m generally grateful for the career path I have chosen. I’m looking forward to making 2022 a successful year as the pandemic hopefully begins to subside.

Please share any questions below or any of your own positive experiences of self-employment, business management or if you enjoy the structure of working for a company. There can be benefits to all career paths and individuals find satisfaction in different challenges.

Thanks for reading.

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