Freelancing as a Web Professional

I’ve been asked a lot recently about freelancing and how it works. My personal experience has been amazing! But the truth is that it’s not for everyone. If you are considering going solo, here is some recommended reading for you.

First, review the recently-released results of the 2008 A List Apart Survey. The responses and accompanying analysis will give you insight into what web professionals charge, what their job titles are, how many hours a week they work, and much, much more. Included are many statistics regarding freelance workers and how their habits and experiences compare with those of more traditional web workers.

On getting paid and how much to charge:

These web professionals address freelancing from both sides—moving from a traditional workplace to freelancing and also giving it up to go back to working for a company.

Since freelancing for me is about doing what you love, I’d like to include two short, inspirational pieces:

And finally, as recommended listening, listen to the panel conversation Jeffrey Zeldman moderated as this year’s SXSW Interactive conference: “From Freelance to Agency: Start Small, Stay Small”.

Be An Employable Web Designer

In The Employable Web Designer, Andy Rutledge gives his take on how you can be ready for a real web design job coming out of college.

Now more than ever, it is a student’s responsibility to craft his or her own career preparedness in addition to, even in spite of, the plans and curricula defined by schools. This fact is especially true for aspiring Web designers, for every indication is that most higher education institutions don’t have the first clue about the interactive professions or how to prepare future professionals.

As a web craftsman, I think even seasoned web designers could take a look at this list of skills and traits that make a truly employable web professional. Pay close attention to the “Technology and Web Craft Skills” section since those items require constant reading, learning, and exploration.

I hope that this list and my suggestions help aspiring web designers to better craft their own preparedness and, if necessary, adjust their degree plans toward a more effective and responsible result.

Andy’s list is not only a great resource for aspiring web designers and developers, but I see it serving as a standard for all web professionals to live up to.

(Also, see my take on preparing for a career in web design, Learning Web Design, from 2006.)