The Podcast Episode with Nicholas Tart
Nowadays, there are already a lot of opportunities for freelance web designers compared to a few years back. However, there is still the misconception of not spending a lot of money on freelance design and development simply because some clients think that freelancers are not professionals.
Fortunately, not everyone has this misconception, and one of them is Nicholas Tart, AwesomeWeb Project Manager. Being a former freelancer himself, Nick understands the pains, struggles, and frustrations of freelance web designers.
That understanding has guided Nicholas as the Project Manager of AwesomeWeb. He knows that while design is the top priority of designers, they still need to earn a living. That is why AwesomeWeb aims to be different than the other job marketplaces as it connects designers to projects that pay well.
The Importance of Having the Right Mindset
Nick talked about his experience when he first started as a freelancer. Just like everybody else in the freelancing business, his approach is pretty much the same – get clients and send them an invoice after the job is done. Sure, he gets clients who pay between $2K and $3K, but they come in trickles – like a case of getting lucky.
His view about freelancing changed after talking with a friend who works as a web designer at a big agency. He then started thinking how to work as a freelancer and run an agency, even when it was just him and a couple of contractors he had hired.
What he did was instead of charging for hours, he charged for hours so if the job would take him 50 hours to finish, he would multiply that with his hourly rate of $75 and charge the client $3750. He also divided his time into 15-minute increments, so if he spent three minutes doing some changes in a website, that would charge around $18 by dividing $75 by four.
With that, his mindset changed from that being of an employee to being an entrepreneur. An employee mindset can simply be likened to how schools taught you. That is, you sit quietly, memorize any information given you, and regurgitate that information when exam time comes. This kind of mindset will definitely sabotage your mindset as a freelancer.
An entrepreneur mindset, on the other hand, calls the shots, owns up to his responsibilities, and designs his own success. If you don’t think like one, you become a liability because it limits your potential. However, there are practical ways how to develop this kind of mindset.
Entrepreneurs solve problems first and design next.
Entrepreneurs are not really worried about job descriptions, but they view themselves as problem solvers first. And in order to solve problems, they are not afraid of getting their hands dirty and will complete the necessary tasks to bring them closer to their goals.
Clients hire you to design a website for them. But why are they doing that? What is the underlying problem that drove them to hire you?
Web design professionals who have an entrepreneurial mindset will try to figure that problem out, within reason, to help their clients. If you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask your clients because they will be more than happy to do that.
Entrepreneurs use client feedback to improve their business.
An employee depends on performance reviews, while an entrepreneur focuses on launching a product that is viable, getting feedback, and using it to improve the product even more. A web designer who has this kind of mindset understands that they will have to change several courses of actions in order to find a winning formula.
Entrepreneurs take responsibility over their successes and mistakes.
Your greatest and most powerful testimonial as a freelance web designer is your reputation. A good reputation leads to higher rates, referrals, and opportunities to work with dream clients. However, it is in your hands to shape your reputation well. Blaming mistakes on the externals, or even your clients, are a huge recipe for failure.
How to Position Yourself as a Freelancer
What is the difference between a freelancer who charges $40/hour to a freelancer who charges $80/hour?
This was the question which Nicholas answered by saying that it is not only about the quality you bring to the table, but also on how you position yourself as a freelancer.
Positioning yourself correctly as a freelancer means you need to be able to pinpoint who your perfect customer is. Once you know who your perfect customer is, the next thing to find out is what would trigger them or fire them up to choose you over other freelance web designers in the marketplace.
This can be quite tricky, most especially in terms of pricing. How will you be able to convince your client to hire you even if your rate is higher than the other person?
In his podcast interview, Paul Jarvis mentioned how he was able to charge $9000 per client or per project, and his secret is by serving only one type of client well. In his blog, he also mentioned that the right way to position yourself as a freelancer is by thinking yourself as a leader and not as a laborer. This simply means that you have to commoditize your skills and focus on how much value your solutions and expertise are on the table.
To show his dedication to such principles, Nick and the AwesomeWeb team help web designers who work in their platform do just that. They guide them by building a portfolio which highlights their expertise, helping them understand who their perfect customer is, and most importantly, connecting the perfect client to the perfect freelancer.
In short, AwesomeWeb is dedicated to helping their members know exactly who they are, what type of work they want to do, and get as many clients for that type of work. And part of that dedication includes developing their marketplace to benefit the freelancers even more.
There are still misconceptions regarding how freelancers are being viewed. These are due to several factors coming from clients and even freelancers themselves. However, you can challenge, even change, these misconceptions by having a change of mindset first. Respect and change come from within first, then it manifests and bring change to the people and things around you. By heeding the advice of experts and industry leaders, you can soon find success as a freelancer with your respect still intact.
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