There’s nothing more liberating than knowing that you’re your own boss. And there’s nothing more defeating than realizing that being your own boss doesn’t make ends meet. In order not to make ends meet, freelance web designers should apply some practical budgeting tactics that will ensure their financial stability.
#1 Calculate all the project expenses
When you’re thinking about accepting a new project, it’s crucial to always calculate all the expenses that engagement will incur. A new star in the web design sky might forget to add some costs to their project estimate, which could lead to a financial turmoil.
Therefore, ask your client about every single detail regarding the project. If you need to use some special software tools, define who should pay those license fees, you or the client. The final price you offer to the client will depend on such costs.
In case you’re going to use a software tool only for a limited period of time, don’t pay the annual fee, but use the benefits of SaaS. Instead of buying software tools, you can literally rent them for the period of time you’ll be needing them.
Also, sometimes you might take part in web design projects that require traveling or meeting other businesspeople. If so, make sure that the client covers your travel expenses.
#2 Negotiate an advance payment
The position of the underdog in business often leads freelancers to make some bad compromises regarding the payment terms. In line with that, new web designers might agree to get paid when the project is over. This approach is applicable when working with reliable, long-term clients.
But when you’re only starting your online career, it’s too risky to wait for the payment until the end of the project. You don’t know if the client is going to pay you or not.
Because of that, always ask for an advance payment. For instance, if you’re negotiating a business logo project, you should get the first part of the payment when you send them the sketch version. The rest of the agreed sum should be paid when you send the preliminary version. Finally, when the client is completely satisfied with the logo, they should transfer the remaining amount to your account.
Further, breaking your projects into milestones is another clever solution that will ensure seamless financial stability.
#3 Ask for prompt payments
Large companies can afford longer payment periods. If you collaborate with larger ventures, you’ll often see that they allow for 60- or even 90-day payment period.
They have a large amount of money at their disposal, which gives them more room for financial flexibility.
However, an aspiring web designer who wants to build an online career doesn’t have this comfort. That’s why you should ask for prompt payments. For instance, giving your clients a 15-day period from the invoice date to make their payment is a reasonable option.
When it comes to invoicing, make sure to keep your invoices clear and straightforward. Adding too many details to them could mislead or confuse your clients. As a result, this might lead to late payments and budgeting issues.
That’s why web designers should always have a few simple invoice templates at their disposal, to send them out immediately when they define the payment terms of a new project.
#4 Put aside assets for training
Wise professionals always keep extending their knowledge. Business Insider has recently published an interesting article about the reading habits of wealthy businesspeople. For instance, Warren Buffet spends about five hours reading newspapers every day. Elon Musk is another avid reader, who used to read SF-novels for ten hours a day when he was younger.
Of course, you might not have enough time to read for fun while you’re trying to pursue a web design career on the Web. The point is that you should always invest in your education, even if you become the best-paid designer on Upwork. Following this pattern will eventually give you enough free time to read for your own pleasure.
Until that day comes, always put some percentage of every income aside and use it to pay your additional courses and workshops. For instance, there are dozens of web design courses on Coursera.
Alternatively, you can attend free courses, as well. They’re also a handy option that will leave a few extra cents in your pocket while equipping you with some new skills for your future work.
Making a breakthrough in the field of web design is no cakewalk. However, there are many work opportunities out there. What’s more, the demand for web designers is going to grow in the years to come. So, just give it a go, but make sure to take care of your finances from day one. The strategies presented in this piece will help you run a lucrative career in web design.
Author Bio: Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.