I often find designers, especially web designers, turning into freelancers and then going onto outsourcing. But sadly, there are more failures than successes in this game.
Being a web designer, and having experience of being at both ends of outsourcing, I find it obligatory to share my experiences.
Early on in my career, I received projects by bidding and finding work with the help of outsourcing websites. As my business improved, I started being the employer as well.
Before I can share my experience, let’s just define it the whole freelancing and outsourcing scenario for newcomers.
How does freelancing and outsourcing work?
Every designer has similar stories, so I’ll just share mine, brief version of course.
I was doing job as a web designer, but I soon realized that my services were enough to be introduced as a product. So I did not need to carry on with jobs, I could have my own business i.e. I could start freelancing.
Fortunately for me, this blog Designzzz was doing well so even if I did not get immediate success in my freelancing, I could manage it.
Realizing my financial situation, my upcoming wedding and everything else in my life, I decided that if I wanted to go freelance, this was the time to do it.
I wanted to go freelance to because I thought I would have more freedom. Freedom to select the working hours according to my likes, freedom of not having to dress-up for job, freedom of taking a leave whenever I wanted, and freedom of charging according to my talent.
Mainly this concept of freedom, or should I say this illusion of freedom is what motivates all designers to turn freelance. Yes, I said illusion. Why did I call it so, we’ll talk more about it in the next section. In this section, I’m only focusing on how the whole thing works.
So I turned freelance. But then, very soon I realized that there were projects I could not cater, but there were designers in places far away from me (South Asia, Central Asia etc.) who were willing to do them and take less money than what clients would offer to me. So I thought…
“Why should I not acquire this project and outsource it. Client will get his project, the designer in the far-fetched area will get his desired money and I will also make a little share. It’s a win-win!”
How the idea of outsourcing turns out?
It wasn’t a win-win.
Why it wasn’t so? Let’s just take a look.
Illusion of freedom
Technically, freelancers do have more freedom, but practically, they don’t (unless you’re someone really good). Since you don’t have a regular, stable stream of income, you are always worried and trying to get more work. Even though you are free to take a leave but why would you? Making both ends meet isn’t that easy in this world, is it?
Then there was that fact that I would be paid according to my talent. More or less I did get paid according to my talent even in jobs.
So is freelancing all bad?
Not at all. In fact it was one of the best decisions of my life to go freelance, but the objective was wrong. Don’t go freelance if you are looking for freedom. Go freelance if you are willing to work extra hard and make a name for yourself!
Outsourcing to other people far far away
Nope! Not a good idea. Never a good idea! Didn’t work for me, didn’t work for most of the people.
Those designers almost NEVER meet deadlines. You just end up doing all the work yourself.
Even if they do deliver the work on time, it is not up to your standards and the client’s demands and expectations.
If you hire someone, in most of the cases you won’t be able to keep him/her busy and they will be aggravated.
Freelance is a good idea if you are thinking of establishing your own business in the long term. Freelance is not a good idea if you are looking for relaxation.
Outsourcing to make some extra money by just managing client and the ghost designer never turns out good. If you have to outsource, you should only outsource to serious professionals who specialize in something you do not, so both of you together can take up on a big project.