Out of Office

Benefits of Working Anywhere

LaptopOne of the best things about freelancing is that you are not restricted to working in a specific location or at a specific time. This gives you the freedom to juggle your work around your schedule rather than having it the other way around. As a website designer one of the main prerequisites that I have for a workplace is a reliable internet connection. I can easily travel with my laptop and once I put on my headphones distractions become minimal. This flexibility is invaluable since I often have to work at different places or at irregular times. Here are a few advantages of being able to telecommute rather than work strictly out of an office.

Choose your working hours

While 8am – 4pm or 9am – 5pm are ideal daylight hours who’s to say that you work best in the day? Furthermore, these are the times with the most distractions and may not be the times that inspiration suddenly hits you. Being able to choose your own working hours allows you to work when you know you will be more productive. It also allows you the flexibility of working more than one job.

Make yourself comfortable

Since there is no need to dress formally at home or behave in a certain manner this allows you to be more comfortable. You can play music, go outside, or even work fro the comfort of your bed if you are not feeling 100%.  You can avoid the stress of traveling to an office and use the time t would have taken to commute for other purposes.

Work on the go

When you work from different locations you tend to take steps to make your files available wherever you are. This might be done by utilizing cloud services to synchronize files over the internet. You may also choose to  use software such as TeamViewer to access your computer remotely. There is also the option of working with a mobile computer such as a laptop or tablet which you can easily carry along with you. You can use this at the airport or at any hotspot to get a little work done while on a trip. This is great practice for the tie when you have to work from a client’s office or other unfamiliar location.

Draw inspiration from your surroundings

Some people work in a spacious comfortable office while others work in drab, cramped cubicles. Choosing your own work environment can help you to draw inspiration from your surroundings. Simple things such as a window view can make a great difference especially if you are doing creative work.

Collaborate freely

Networking can be done in many forms and working away from the office helps both online and offline networking. You can meet clients or team members face to face and work with them wherever they are. You can also use social networks and programs such as Skype to have video or voice conferences once you have internet connectivity.

Working anywhere can mean working at home or working at a foreign location. There will always be a preferred working environment but you may not always have access to this. The trick to working from different places is to be prepared and to be flexible enough to adjust to different environments. Once you have done so you may find the benefits it affords quite refreshing.


The Freelancer’s Pricing Dilemma

One of the toughest decisions for a freelancer is how to price  products and services. Obviously you want to make a decent profit, but you also have to consider factors such as expenses and your desired salary when making pricing decisions. You may be tempted to use lower prices to gain a competitive advantage but this could greatly limit your profitability. As a website and graphic designer the question of how to charge clients is very common and there is no one answer that satisfies every situation. Here are a view factors I take into consideration when creating my prices.

Billable Hours

Billable HoursThe concept of billable hours is based on how you value an hour of your work. Do you  do  $5,  $30  or $50 worth of work in an hour? This is a personal figure you decide based on your personal ability and preference. You can then use this hourly figure along with an estimation of the time it will take to complete the job to get an idea of the price of a project. If you are charging a client by the hour you should ensure that they are aware of this so that they recognize the longer the job takes and the more changes they make the more expensive it will be. You should also log your hours carefully and have documentation ready to justify your price if necessary. You can use a strict hourly rate or use this as a guide in addition with other pricing systems.

Overhead Costs

Overhead CostsIf your price does not generate enough money to cover overhead costs  you will be operating at a loss. As a freelancer you will need to ensure that you at least break even by generating income greater than expenses. This is more difficult at the early stages of a business due to the large investment costs. As the business matures though it should become profitable and self sustainable. Therefore your prices should be high enough to cover your overhead costs, including your salary. Failure to consider these costs can quickly see your business making money but still not surviving. You can also try to reduce overhead costs in order to offer customers lower prices or make larger profits.

Type of Project

Project TypeEvery job is not the same and cannot be charged at the same rate. A logo for a local club would cost significantly less than a logo for an internationally recognized  sports club. The factors that influence the price are not so much the budget of the client but the scope and complexity of the project. Larger projects usually require more detailed research and require a deeper understanding of the client’s vision. This may include multiple meetings and even travel. The longevity and range of uses of the logo will also vary by the popularity of the client. This would invariably also influence the price of the job.

Rights and Licensing

CopyrightAnother thing to consider in pricing services is who retains rights to the work and for how long. If the customer retains all rights to the work and can use it however they please then the cost of the design would be higher than if I retain rights to the project. A situation may also arise where the customer has exclusive rights to the design for a fixed period of time after which I have full rights once again. In this situation the price would be higher in consideration of the period of exclusive rights.

SeizerStyle Designs Founded

From hobbyist to genuine business

SeizerStye LogoI started SeizerStyle Designs after high school when I became interested in designing websites. My sister gave me a book entitled HTML for Dummies and by going through this book I learned how to create websites using NotePad and a web browser. I created personal websites which worked locally and continued to learn about HTML, CSS and other technology related to website design. Back then it was not a business but a hobby which I enjoyed doing in my free time. Designing websites was much easier than the object oriented programming which I had been taught in high school so I enjoyed the quick progress.

Eventually I began getting customers based on word of mouth. At that point I realized that I needed a business brand  in order to freelance effectively and promote my services. On June 11, 2004 I uploaded the first version of the SeizerStyle website. I was proud that it was strictly hand coded and that I now had a live website to point potential clients to. A few years later I registered the SeizerStyle Designs business name as I continued to invest into my business venture.

WebsiteP ortfolio

I had no capital when I started SeizerStyle Designs and the business was initially funded strictly from the profits of designing websites for clients. I continued to freelance until I got other employment and have continued to grow and nurture the company since then. There have been  ups and downs but the business has managed to survive for 10 years without any external investment of capital besides what I have contributed from my savings.

Although I never took a break from the business, there have been slow times when I had to prioritize furthering my education and keep myself educated and informed about the industry and marketing. This was not easy since I like to see progress and would have liked to devote more time into the business. I do not regret this thugh, since I have learned many lessons which can directly be applied to SeizerStyle Designs to improve its services in both quality and quantity.

Just starting a business is much easier than running a successful business and maintaining that success over a long period. It takes hard work and long hours to run a business and it is even more difficult if you are doing it alone. In my opinion, the joy of being your own boss and creating a product/service that satisfies your customers’ needs trumps that though. I would encourage anyone with a passion and dedication for a business to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit. Do not expect instant success but be willing to persevere and weather the storm while you make your business profitable. It is a risk but a risk that all successful entrepreneurs have to take.