So, why do you want to start your own business as a professional Squarespace Web Designer?
The internet has opened up many new opportunities for self-employment and these days we don't need expensive qualifications or years of studying to start our own online business. I am a university drop-out and entirely self-taught – the internet made that possible.
Nonetheless, it is worth looking at some of the reasons why you want to become a freelance web designer as your motivation will greatly impact the success of your business:
I am unhappy in my 9-5 job
I want more freedom to do the things I enjoy
I want more flexibility to decide when and how I work
I don't want to answer to someone else
Creative work excites me and I have a knack for design and technology
I love working with people and providing a good service on my terms
I want to make the internet a more beautiful place
If you look at this list there are two distinct types of motivations:
While the first category will motivate you to get started it is the second one that will keep you going and ultimately determine your success and profitability.
Managing and growing your own business takes a lot of work, patience and perseverance. In addition to your design work there are many hats you'll be wearing as a business owner:
Much of this you can learn, or eventually outsource or hire people to do for you. Nonetheless, as you can see it takes a lot more than just enjoying building websites to turn that passion into a profitable professional business and that's why so many new business owners end up with burn-out, because it's just a LOT to manage.
Working as a true solo entrepreneur.
I made the decision early on that I did not want to grow my business into a design studio where I employ and manage people. Been there and done that, don't want to do that again. I enjoy being my own boss and only employee! Which makes things like time management, resources and tools even more important. My ultimate motivator is finding true balance between my work and all the other parts of my live. Which is why I was not surprised at all when I learned about the seven career anchors and what mine is...
Know who you are
When I was 38 my then employer went through a massive downsizing and I lost my job as a project manager. I was so relieved because working 9-5 in a male dominated tech company had never felt like me. As part of the redundancy package the company offered a career counceling workshop and that was one of those pivotal moments in my professional life that put me on a trajectory that I probably would not have considered otherwise.
The workshop facilitator gave us Edgar Schein's Seven Career Anchors quiz and it changed my life!
Everyone talks about Myer Briggs or even Enneagram these days, yet I have found the career anchors to be so much more accurate and meaningful when it comes to our professional inclinations and choices. My anchor is "Lifestyle" and once I knew that I decided to accept a position in corporate sales that I had been offered by another company. Without this test I would have never considered a sales job, I never thought that was me, but because I now knew that Lifestyle is my main motivator I knew that I could do anything as long as it supported the kind of life I wanted: travel, some flexibility to allow for balance with my home life, and working with friends and customers in an industry I loved (airline).
The career anchors are super interesting and they can really help you determine your own motivators when it comes to your professional career and outlook. In my case they helped me make professional choices that ultimately led me to where I am today.
The Road Less Travelled
People often ask me how I became so successful as a web designer without a background in design or development? I am not a coder or graphic designer and there are many other professionals who know a lot more in these areas than I do. What I do have is a passion for good clean design, a knack for organization and a geeky disposition that makes me get the technical answers I don't have.
However, being a successful web designer is about so much more than just the technical know-how:
I have always had a passion for service and for working with people and ultimately that is what helped me get to where I am now. My work attitude is not that different to when I lived the corporate life, I hold myself to the same high standards that my bosses expected back then and in many ways I work a lot harder than I ever did. I love my clients and want to give them the best I can. Ultimately it comes down to this for me: