Have you ever thought about why you became a web designer? It’s one of those questions that may not have entered your mind because, it’s just who you are.
Recently, I’ve given some thought to my own path to where I am now. As a high school senior in 1995, my family subscribed to an unlimited dialup internet service. Previously, internet service had been metered by the likes of AOL and so I had been extremely limited in how much time I could spend online. But with the arrival of unlimited access, it literally opened up the world.
I mention this because, without that slow-as-a-snail dialup account, I may never have started to play around with HTML. And I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to learn Photoshop or any other graphics program.
Those items helped to spark a creative passion that I didn’t know I had. Thankfully, even through some ups and downs, it’s something that I still have over 20 years later.
Where Passion Begins and Ends
Creative fields like web design require a certain amount of talent. But to really succeed, I’d argue that passion is just as important.
Anyone who’s read a Dilbert comic or watched The Office knows that these fictional employees have a dearth of passion for what they do. While the stories are made up, the almost-robotic way the characters go about their jobs is something very real and relatable.
If you’re a designer who acts similarly in your daily grind, it’s hard to imagine that you’d be very creative. No, design requires a real passion to do things the right way. Without it, your work is going to suffer.
However, those who decide to take on the challenge of becoming a freelance designer often face a stark reality: There are days where it’s really hard to conjure up any passion for what you’re doing. And it’s not very surprising.
When you consider the amount of added responsibility you take on while running a business, it can weigh on you. Finances, client relations and all the stress that goes along with the gig is enough to drain anyone of excitement.
And, just like in the more creative parts of your job, facing each task with dread or ambivalence is a recipe for failure.
Finding Passion and Purpose in Your Business
How, then, can we become passionate about the day-to-day challenges of freelance life? Let’s take a look at some fairly simple things you can do:
As it turns out, neither life nor work is 100% fun all of the time. So it makes sense to set realistic expectations when it comes to running a business. There are going to be days that, simply put, are going to stink like a closet full of rotten eggs. But, each day is an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing again.
Find a New Muse
Being creative in and of itself can stir some passion. In my own career, I’m happiest when doing design work or writing. But we can’t spend every moment on those tasks. So it’s up to us to find other things that create some mojo. It might be finding a new niche or service to offer. Or, spend some time on a different aspect of your business that brings out your best. Feeling as though you’ve done a great job can be enough to keep you going.
Creating goals and challenging yourself to top them is a great way to stay in the right frame of mind. Set a goal for how many new clients you want to book in a month or even how many blog posts you want to write. Whatever it is, you’ll have something positive to focus on. Just remember to keep your goals realistic!
Don’t Overdo It
Working yourself too hard is one of the biggest soul-crushing activities for a freelancer. This is especially tough when you’re extremely busy and have deadlines to meet. But there are also times when you simply need a break. Take some time away from your desk and your phone. It can give you a more positive perspective on life.
Make Your Work Mean Something
Finding passion in what you do will put you on the right path towards a successful freelance web design career. The key to developing it is in finding purpose in each day – even the bad ones. How you find it is really up to you.
For instance, if you don’t have enough clients, maybe your purpose can be in making contact with a new prospect. If you’re buried under a mountain of work, you might find purpose in reaching little milestones each day.
That purpose leads to passion, which will shine through to everyone you work with. And when others can see how deeply connected you are to your work, it not only makes them want to work with you but also sing your praises to others.
The result is that your business starts to build momentum. Keep it up and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a successful career.