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Thread: Are you REALLY making money freelancing??

  1. #1
    Plutarian(From Pluto, stupid!) kitchee's Avatar
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    The truth. I talk with a LOT of freelancers and they are all complaining about this and that, and they make NO money! YES they are the top in their fields and YES they get $85+ and hour and YES they love what they do, but nothing but a few LUCKY gigs here and there...

    Many have told me they are going to change professions becuase there is just not enough in it for them...

    I know there will be the select few that have a good gig, but I find it really hard to beleive a lot of peeps out there on their own are making any kind of a real living at it..

    The market sucks, it's perducing more waiters then ever before and may stay that way for a long long time (Show me proof it is not)...

    So with all that said... Do you make any real money at it?

    Real==money at least $25,000 per year, which is pretty low if you ask me...

    Disgruntled dude,..

    k


  2. #2
    I too can't understand how anybody is making money doing freelance web design anymore. I see a few of these guys come on here and tell me how they're still making good money and yet I still don't believe it. If they do, they don't live around here. There are no jobs where I live (Los Angeles). They only people who answer web design ads are people looking for porno sites--which I'll probably have to sink to next. I can just hear future conversations with my client:

    Me: So I'm thinking we can get more users to your site if we move up the beastiality and the midget sex to page 1. Whadda you think?

    Client: Sounds good. By the way, I have those farm animal pics for you on disc. When's a good time to stop by?


  3. #3
    I'm making plenty of money both in my full time job and freelancing.

    With the contract I just landed two weeks ago I am actually going to make 150% of my full time salary per year for an indefinate amount of time.

    Unfortunately niether of these jobs are working with Flash or web design. They are both programming jobs (which is lot's of fun too!).

    I estimate that my 2002 salary should top $160,000 if things keep up the way they are.

    At the same time, I will have no life because I'll be working 70 hours a week.

    borngamer

  4. #4
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    What do you program in if you don't mind my asking?

    That's the thing .. if you are strictly Flash/HTML, then
    I don't imagine that too many freelancers are doing that
    well. However, as soon as you start throwing some database
    skillz into the mix, all of a sudden your worth shoots up.
    That's what happened to me. In terms of people saying
    they don't want to spread themselves too thin and learn
    too many different things, I don't buy that. That is
    something lazy people say. If you combine Flash with
    PHP with MYSQL just to start, your value is much higher.



    Originally posted by borngamer
    I'm making plenty of money both in my full time job and freelancing.

    With the contract I just landed two weeks ago I am actually going to make 150% of my full time salary per year for an indefinate amount of time.

    Unfortunately niether of these jobs are working with Flash or web design. They are both programming jobs (which is lot's of fun too!).

    I estimate that my 2002 salary should top $160,000 if things keep up the way they are.

    At the same time, I will have no life because I'll be working 70 hours a week.

    borngamer

  5. #5
    Originally posted by milesofstyles
    What do you program in if you don't mind my asking?

    That's the thing .. if you are strictly Flash/HTML, then
    I don't imagine that too many freelancers are doing that
    well. However, as soon as you start throwing some database
    skillz into the mix, all of a sudden your worth shoots up.
    That's what happened to me. In terms of people saying
    they don't want to spread themselves too thin and learn
    too many different things, I don't buy that. That is
    something lazy people say. If you combine Flash with
    PHP with MYSQL just to start, your value is much higher.
    What relation does PHP have to Flash? I've heard of PHP before and I know it has to do with databases but what exactly does the language do and how do you use it with Flash?

  6. #6
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    Well it's a middleware language .. meaning it hooks the
    database up with Flash .. meaning you can do all sorts of
    things with it .. make a message board entirely in Flash ..
    store high scores in a game .. user logins .. polls .. etc.
    etc.


    Originally posted by SturmTiger
    Originally posted by milesofstyles
    What do you program in if you don't mind my asking?

    That's the thing .. if you are strictly Flash/HTML, then
    I don't imagine that too many freelancers are doing that
    well. However, as soon as you start throwing some database
    skillz into the mix, all of a sudden your worth shoots up.
    That's what happened to me. In terms of people saying
    they don't want to spread themselves too thin and learn
    too many different things, I don't buy that. That is
    something lazy people say. If you combine Flash with
    PHP with MYSQL just to start, your value is much higher.
    What relation does PHP have to Flash? I've heard of PHP before and I know it has to do with databases but what exactly does the language do and how do you use it with Flash?

  7. #7
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    Simply said, there is a boat load of money to be made by all in the web design area. The problem is that most designers refuse to do anything other then web pages. In fact, most of my money comes from things other then designing/programming while still remaining in my given field. The ones that are not making money are quite frankly not working hard enough.

  8. #8
    Plutarian(From Pluto, stupid!) kitchee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Lou C. Fur
    Simply said, there is a boat load of money to be made by all in the web design area. The problem is that most designers refuse to do anything other then web pages. In fact, most of my money comes from things other then designing/programming while still remaining in my given field. The ones that are not making money are quite frankly not working hard enough.
    So what areas are you speaking of?
    Does anyone care to expand on this?

  9. #9
    Heaven is made
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    Eyenovation's Avatar
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    I think the trick is NOT to limit one's self to Flash, or HTML. There is plenty of work available in ALL facets of Graphic Design. There is print, advertising, market research and all forms of visual communication.

    That said, I freelance in addition to a full time gig - and if I get jobs that dont want to pay profitable money, I will go watch the Simpsons. Its as simple as that.


  10. #10
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    Well, it comes down to basic business skills over design. Don't get me wrong here, the actual design IS important, however it's the small things that can put you ahead of the pack.

    Example
    My studio offers digital photography (with an Olympus C-2020 Z) as a general service. This has almost no overhead, is not very time consuming, and is comparable to asking "Would you like fries with that?". With that said, I can do one of two things with it. I can make it a separate purchase on the clients part and charge them for it (cha-ching!) OR I could use it as a bargaining chip during negotiations (WINK WINK…NUDGE NUDGE!). Believe it or not, throwing that in for free has won me many contracts that otherwise would have just gone to the lowest bidder.

    I find that the biggest single problem designers have when searching for clients is their inability to think outside the box. They also have no real marketing skills and seem to have a VERY hard time selling them selves. Even worse, are those that try to maintain "artistic integrity". That just won't work if you serious about making money.

    I could go on for days on what to do (and god knows I have..even working on a book..just need a publisher..GURR..lol), but what it all comes down to is smart business.

  11. #11
    As far as my programming goes, the most frequent things I code in are Java, Visual Basic, Perl and CCL (Hospital Based SQL Hybrid Report Language).

    There are quite a few other languages/packages that I use but the one's above are the main ones.

    As far as Flash goes, I've only been using it since August. I managed to land a big juicy contract writing a few video games for an online casino. I never even touched Flash before the contract and found it quite easy to learn.

    My day job stay's pretty constant, I write either CCL, VB, Perl or Java with the occasional HTML/DHTML project. It's the contract stuff I like for learning new tools. The only contract I have ever had where I had used the technology before is the one I just landed.

    I've just been lucky enough that I have had enough variety in experience to quickly learn any new tools needed for a job. My attitute when approaching a contract is that I can do anything I set my mind to. So far, it's never failed me.

    borngamer

  12. #12
    Loop Junkie calpomatt's Avatar
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    I think it's all a matter of effort...as many have said above. If you want it bad enough(and you have the skills)....then you will succeed.

    I haven't even tried to get work and I've landed a few jobs, just from people seeing my work here at Flash Kit. The jobs I've been asked to do have not been with Flash, but with graphics and audio.

    I imagine if I were to put some effort into it and try to get work, I could make a decent living. There's a lot to be done out there. Look for web sites that could use updating, look for businesses without webpages, branch out into other areas, learn the backend stuff.....there's lots that can be done.

    I admit I am speaking without true experience but I am just giving my view on the matter. I see a lot of potential clients out there....it's just a matter of how much you are willing to do to get their business.

    - Matt

  13. #13
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    ...and that's a very big part of it. Many designers that complain about not "making the money they should" are not putting the right effort behind it. To make money, it costs money..Give a little, get a little..and a whole list of other clichés.....

  14. #14
    Plutarian(From Pluto, stupid!) kitchee's Avatar
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    What about people just starting out? Fresh from college or even those whom never attended?

    No one here except one I think accually answered the question. Is anyone here REALLY making any money freelancing? Just freelancing only.

    The question is not what it takes, but what you make(s)...(Tried to make it ryhme,lol)

    The business sence is just a given, of course you need that... If you don't you will never get even a reg job anywhere...

  15. #15
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    Well, I make my entire living off of "freelancing" (Well, it's basically me and my girlfriend now). It covers a $1700 a month rent, two, week long vacations a year (and a few "getaways"), all my utility bills (in the ballpark of 400-800 depending on phone usage, keeping my baby, a 92 Camaro, in good running order, keeping my girlfriends 78' Firebird in good running order, paid for most of my schooling, along with funding my active social life..Does that answer you question

    As far as just starting out goes, I did quite well. I was working in the music business as a manager before I jumped ships, so maybe that gave me an advantage. I still think that anyone who really puts a good solid business strategy can make it..but that's just me..heh

    Oh yeah, as far as the market goes, it's all just media hype. This is just a down from a long up. It's the nature of the beast. As soon as spending picks back up, and the media starts reporting it, you'll notice fewer waiters at that local coney island...

  16. #16
    Modding with Class JabezStone's Avatar
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    I'm not about to reveal my personal income to anyone here, but to relieve your curiosity, I thought I'd jump in and say, "Yes, people really do make money 'freelancing'."
    I have been in this line of work for several years. I started out working with General Motors fulltime, while moonlighting on my own, and recently left them because my personal business was demanding so much of my time and paying much, much more. The bottom line is that you have to "get" your work. I still get a large amount of my work by referral, but still the largest percentage of my success has been by contacting business and offering my services. Almost exclusively it has worked every time. Recently my work has demanded so much of my time that I have had to hire both a salesman and a developer to work full time on new projects, in addition to what I do on my own. It's a great problem to have.
    One thing I have never done, while in this business, is complain... not about the economy, not about the clients, not about anything. I have just remained optomistic and took the initiative to "get" some work. If there is a slump in the media and design world, I have not felt it and don't think I ever will. Be creative and assertive. Spend more time making real-world contacts than you do on these boards. Turn your computer off, go outside and meet people. Go to area business conventions. Check with your local chamber of commerce for networking meetings. Nothing will sell your services like a warm handshake and a personality. Don't waste time on meaningless advertising, but be selective where you put your money. There are a ton of things you can do. Not any one thing is going to be "magic", but if you throw enough things against the wall, something is bound to stick.
    I'm tired... goodnight!

    Regards,

    Jabez
    [Edited by JabezStone on 11-25-2001 at 11:35 PM]

  17. #17
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    To answer the question.

    I have been doing this for only a year now. HAve not yet made a decent living. But I am building up a small but growing monthly revenue line of work, emags, news updates on corporate sites etc.

    I think that by the end of my second year I should be able to afford to take my wife to a MacDonalds !!!!!

  18. #18
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    oh ye

    and i have a 6 month old boy, and the bank account is hovering in the black area. Just.

  19. #19
    Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in... I work for a design firm as well as freelance. The income from my freelancing pays nearly as well as my full-time job, so yes, it is possible. You have to know how to market yourself, network, and make an impression with people.

    And I also have a child. She'll be 3 in March. They cost a lot, heh

  20. #20
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    yes they sure do, so I must be doing something right .....

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