Among the biggest challenges freelance web designers face is the sheer number of responsibilities involved. It goes well beyond design and development. There’s marketing, bookkeeping, client relations, technical support, and continuing education. For some, the list might be even longer.
During busy times, it can feel like you have to be everywhere at once. Not only is it stressful, but it can also take focus away from your projects (you know, the stuff you like to do). With that, the results may not be up to your usual standard.
The first step in improving the situation is in recognizing the problem. While all of these responsibilities come with the territory, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the struggle.
Finding relief sometimes means relinquishing control. The realization that, no, you don’t have to do everything by yourself, can be liberating.
While everyone has different strengths, there are a variety of tasks that you may want to pass along to someone else. Today, we’ll look at a few of the most common ones to remove from your already-full plate.
Aspects of a Project That You Can’t Do Efficiently
Web design projects tend to be multifaceted. There’s the look and layout, to go along with a site’s functionality. Beyond that, you might be looking at complementary pieces such as SEO and performance optimization.
Chances are, there might be one or more areas of a project that don’t play to your strengths. For example, you might be a whiz at CSS but struggle with building certain functionality from scratch.
Or, there could be loads of “busy” work, such as entering content into a CMS. Perhaps it’s not difficult, but it further stresses your tight schedule.
These are prime opportunities to outsource some tasks to another web professional in your network. If they can do it more efficiently and cost-effectively, it makes sense to pass the work along to them. This allows you to focus on what you do best and produce the ideal outcome.
However, this is something you’ll want to plan for ahead of time. That way, you can adjust for any additional costs that come with bringing someone else into the fold.
Taxes and Related Financial Duties
Tax laws around the world vary quite a bit. But their one common feature is in how complex they are. This is especially the case for solo freelancers or other small business arrangements. They’re often a category that is underserved in terms of clear policy.
Thus, it’s easy to get mired in a tangle of arcane rules and nonsensical paperwork. And, even if you understand the basics, there are a lot of little details that could make a huge difference in the outcome. Miss one of them and it could cost you money (or worse).
Why continue waste to your time? Tax professionals and financial advisors are there to navigate these turbulent waters for you. A good one will provide you with helpful information and file your taxes to the letter of the law.
If you aren’t keen on recordkeeping, they might even handle it for you. Alternatively, they can set you up with software that makes the task easier.
For many of us, finance is an area that is far outside of our expertise. When that’s the case, it’s better to delegate the responsibility to someone more qualified.
Things That Can Be Effectively Automated
Now, about the term “outsource”. It has traditionally meant hiring one or more humans to do a job. But in web design, we’re not limited to just human help these days.
There are a lot of tasks that can be partially, if not fully, automated. Things like browser, device, and performance testing come to mind. Software updates might also be run on an automated schedule.
When done manually, each of these items can potentially eat up a lot of your precious time. The ability to automate them can result in significant savings.
Automation is usually taken care of via a third-party service provider. You pay a fee in exchange for getting a piece of your life back. However, you may find some free, open-source scripts that offer this functionality as well.
Either way, these tools do a lot of the grunt work for you. From there, you can view the results and deal with any issues as needed.
Save Your Time and Your Sanity
Every freelancer is faced with tasks that make running a business more difficult. They might be far outside of our expertise or merely busywork. Regardless, they take our focus off of more important things.
While the items above are common examples, they are by no means a complete list. Since many of us have a specific niche, some tasks will prove to be more of an obstacle than others.
For instance, you may be terrific at logo design and welcome the challenge. Others may want to run away from their computer screaming. In that case, being able to pass that work along to someone else can be a great solution.
But before you go ahead and start outsourcing tasks, do a little thinking. Which ones will save you time and make for a more efficient workflow? Just as important, consider tasks that cause you an undue amount of stress. Outsourcing can benefit your mental health, as well.
There is so much work that goes into being a freelance web designer. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it all on your own.