How to Prepare Your Freelance Web Design Business for Change

Are you comfortable with your freelance web design business the way it is right now?

Good. Now shake yourself out of that complacency.

No matter how comfortable you are at present, change is inevitable. If you’re not ready for it, your business will suffer. You’ll lose business to the freelancers who were ready for the changes.

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Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Change doesn’t have to be painful. The fix is to be ready for it.

Prepare your freelance business for change. Become the freelancer who others turn to because you’re up to date.

Even though no one can completely know what’s going to happen in the future, you can prepare yourself for some types of change. In this post, I’ll give you some pointers to help you prepare for the three most common types of change–starting with professional change.


Prepare for Professional Change

The field of web design is constantly changing. If you don’t believe me, look at the web designs that were popular ten years ago. You’ll see that many of them don’t look much like the designs that are popular today. You’ll find that many sites that are popular today didn’t even exist ten years ago.

Hint: You may have to use the Internet Archive WayBackMachine to get a look at those older sites. Alyson Shontell has also compiled a review of popular websites from days gone by on Business Insider in her post, Tech More: Features Websites LinkedIn Facebook What 14 Popular Websites Used To Look Like.

Just this past year, we’ve seen the following web design trends:

And those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Web design is going to keep on changing and as a web designer you need to keep up with those changes. Some changes will permanently affect web design, others are merely trends. At first, you may not be able to tell the permanent changes from the fads–and that’s okay.

How to prepare for changes in web design

Use these three easy tips to help you prepare for changes that affect your profession:

  1. Read professional publications. Blogs, magazines, and other publications will document new trends.
  2. Join a professional society. Professional societies often provide seminars and other information to members.
  3. Take classes. Make training a regular part of running your business. Aim for at least one class a year.

Prepare for Personal Change

Wheelchair user in front of staircase Barrier

Professional changes are just one type of change that can affect your web design business. Personal changes can also affect your work–especially if you’re not ready for them.

Here are three common personal changes that many freelance web designers face:

  • Relationship changes. Sometimes disagreements with family or close friends are so severe that they spill over into your work.
  • Illness. You, or someone you love, could become sick. You may even suddenly find yourself becoming a caretaker for a sick family member.
  • Financial problems. You could be hit with a sudden unexpected expense that threatens your financial security.

How to prepare for personal changes

Use these easy tips to help you prepare for personal changes:

  1. Prioritize relationships. You can’t control what other people do, but at least you can make sure that you spend enough time with those you care about. A common cause of relationship problems is not spending enough time together. Make sure that you don’t spend so much time on your business that you have no time left for your loved ones.
  2. Be realistic. If you’re sick or caring for someone who is, you may have to adjust your work schedule. You’ll probably have to work around doctor’s appointments and procedures. There may be good days and bad days. Try to negotiate more lenient deadlines. You may even want to consider going part-time during this crisis.
  3. Save money. It’s easy to spend everything you earn. There’s always something we “need.” However, money in the bank gives you a lot more options when a crisis hits. Hopefully it will never come to this, but in a worst-case scenario you may need to live off your savings for a while. So, remember to save a portion of your income when things are going well.

Prepare for Changes in Circumstance

hole in a roof due to storm or decay

Many changes are neither personal nor professional. Plus, they usually affect a broad group of people. And, you often have no real control over this type of change.

Some examples of changes in circumstance:

  • A storm blows through the area where you live, damaging property. Your roof blows is damaged and needs to be replaced.
  • The government implements a new tax. The tax means that you’ll have less disposable income.
  • The cost of living increases. Your grocery bill and other bills increase significantly

As you can tell from the example, this type of change is often unexpected. Yet, these types of changes can still affect your business.

Although you can’t always change your environment, you should still try to prepare for changes to it.

How to prepare for changes in circumstance

Use these tips to stay on top of changes in circumstance:

  1. Keep up with the news. While some people avoid the news (because much of it is bad), most news outlets will report on upcoming changes that affect a large group of people.
  2. Save money. Once again, personal savings can help protect your business as well as your personal finances.
  3. Change what you can. Adapt to the rest. If you can control a change, do it. If you can’t control the change, you need to figure out how to adjust to it.

A Final Word on Change

This post has focused mostly on negative changes. That’s because negative changes are the most likely to threaten your freelance web design business. Most of us are afraid of negative changes because we know that they are likely to hurt.

But remember, not all changes are bad. Many changes are neutral. They will have no affect on you whatsoever. Other changes are actually good for you. Good changes may even help your freelance business.

So, don’t be afraid of change. Just be ready.

Your Turn

How do you prepare for change?

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