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How Focusing on Short-term Projects Today Will Kill Your Tomorrow

There are hundreds of design related blogs devoted to finding projects, freelance job listings and how to improve your career.  Freelancers read them religiously, in hopes of expanding their businesses and finding more jobs.  However, in the long run, this focus can end up hurting your career.
The focus of these websites, is freelancing for short-term.  This is often an epidemic within industry freelancers, not only web designers.  Below is  a checklist to help demonstrate this topic.

Freelance Short-term Characteristics
•    Determining a value of your work based on a goal that is weekly, or short-term metric.
•    Focusing on completing tasks, even though they are time consuming, boring and low-paying.
•    Non-existent or very limited long term focus.
On the internet, you can find lots of job boards and freelancer websites offering quick jobs for quick pay.  This gives the allusion that it is impossible not to succeed.  However, the time it takes to seek out these jobs and complete the tasks, kills their long-term careers.
This happens because the pay is incredibly poor and once the task is completed, the designer gets no credit for the completed project.  This ultimately means that  the designer gets absolutely nothing out of their labor.
Therefore, these types of clients only hurt you in the long run.  Rather than allocating every working moment to competing to more unrewarding jobs in the freelancing marketplace, invest it in projects that will bring higher returns later.

Pay for Advertising
Bring in projects that are more lucrative and valuable.  While spending money on advertising is averted in the design business, it won’t take long to see the returns.

Create WordPress Themes
Create WordPress themes and brand them with your company name.  This will get your name known and will transition you out of the project by project groove.

Design a Product
Establish a business using products that you design. It can be as simple as designing templates for resale or creating websites and sell affiliate services or products.
Whichever avenue is most agreeable to you, it is crucial that you pick one.  It will provide you with passive long-term income and will eventually take you away from continually going from one tedious job to the next.
The monetary value of skills in the world of design has depreciated.  The novelty of websites such as 99 designs proves this.  As well, freelance sites are becoming the norm.  However, there is a solution and that is to abide in an altered ecosystem.
There are opportunities available for large sums of money, particularly, within the government and multinationals.  However, they can’t be found where the majority of freelancers are looking.

In the years to come successful freelance designers will not be those that produce amazing layouts or UI’s.  They will be the ones that invested their time into long-term projects, networking and developing their businesses. Whether this is via connections or products, web design does not only involve improving your design skills anymore.
If you ever need inspiration to keep you focused on the long term, look at the differences in rates of pay for designing work a decade ago compared to now.


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