…doing freelance web design for a living.

This is definitely not news for those following me on Twitter, as I’ve been dropping hints over the past couple weeks and finally came right out and said it a few nights ago. But for everyone else, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve journeyed back to the land of freelance web design and I have no intentions on leaving.

A Better Fit

It’s all about timing, and at this time I need flexibility most of all. I can’t imagine having a new baby and being away for 8-10 hours a day, leaving my wife Deanna to fend for herself. While I know she could get through it, that’s beside the point. I love that I’m able to leave my desk at any time to lend a hand or relieve Deanna of baby duties if need be. Working with a team and having a boss and managers to answer to doesn’t leave that sort of breathing room.

Family isn’t the only reason for this change, though. In my previous role, I hardly spent any time doing design work, which was entirely by choice. The vast majority of projects that I was involved in were large corporate websites. When you see photos of me, or you look at my work, do you think “corporate”? Clearly, it wasn’t a good fit. But aside from the type of work, I missed being one-on-one with clients. And I really missed handling projects all the way from the initial quote request through to completion. The sense of pride I would feel after 2 or 3 weeks of putting my all into something, and having clients tell me how much they appreciate my work and effort.

Correcting Past Mistakes

I was very successfully doing freelance design work previously. But there were many things I could have done better, which lead to tight budgets, consecutive late nights, and not nearly enough time set aside for gaming family. Before I started doing any work, I laid down some ground rules that I intend to follow and started taking steps to ensure I didn’t get myself into the same bad habits.

One of the biggest steps I’ve taken so far, was bringing in a partner to help with some of the administrative stuff. My beautiful wife Deanna has willingly assumed many roles that have taken a lot of the pressure off, and given me a bit more breathing room. It’s a pretty sweet setup we’ve come up with – since one of us always has the baby (unless she’s sleeping), the other can be working. Regardless of who that might be, shit is still getting done.

Open for Business

I’m actually nearing the end of my third week already. And having just opened the floodgates yesterday, I’ve found myself booked until May. Which is actually really good, if you’re looking to get some work done as I was typically booked 3-5 months in advance last time I was freelancing. If you are in the market for a new blog or a redesign, be sure to get in touch and we’ll see if we can work together.

On the Side

Client work isn’t all I have on the go right now. For months, I’ve been plugging away on a redesign for my blog. I finalized the homepage design some time ago and have moved onto the article layout. It’s coming along great and speed has picked up significantly as of late. The design is merely a small portion of the job, though. I’m working on building out a more intuitive portfolio among other new additions. In case you missed it, I posted some teasers on Flickr a while back.

Additionally, I’m going to make an effort to write more about web design and WordPress based development. I’ve got a couple drafts started already and a few more topics in mind. Stay tuned for those.

And finally, it looks like I’m going to venture into an area I said I would never get into it – I’m going to release some free WordPress themes. At this point, you’re not getting any more details. But I will say that they’ll be based on some of my previous work.

46 Comments

good on you, matt

good luck with it all

i’ve currently hit part time at my ‘office-job’ to take up freelancing. i don’t feel like i fit in to most corps’ either.. and working from home, in my own time, being my own boss.. is definately feeling like ‘the best fit’.

would dig hearing some of your do’s and dont’s etc

keep on keeping on

would dig hearing some of your do's and dont's etc

I’ve thought about writing about all the things I sucked at while freelancing last time around, so others don’t make the same mistakes. I might just do that.

Good luck with it all, I am surprised you have filled up so fast.

Wouldn’t that be neat if you guys could just work together and not have day jobs.

That’s the long-term goal. Although, Deanna might still take shifts at the restaurant here and there as it’s good, quick money. She’ll be going back to work in a few months, most likely. But eventually, yes it would be nice to be there.

You’ve made the right choice! This time you’re coming back to the game with more experience and knowledge, which will be huge. As a fellow dad with two young kids at home running my own business, I know how hectic life + work can get but the sacrifices we’re making are well worth it.

That’s exactly how I’m feeling about things this time around. Just when I got out of the game, I had put some new things into affect, but never had a chance to see if they’d work out. Looking forward to finding out the answer soon enough.

That’s really, REALLY awesome Matt! Glad to see you could make the perfect combination between your personal and professional life.

Looking forward to your future work. I think the "new" Matt will shine through more now. Nice with themes and all. Making you more popular and stuff. 😉

Booked until May already?! Congratulations on going freelance again; it must be pretty exciting. Can’t wait to see new additions to your portfolio which is always an inspiration to look through.

Also looking forward to WordPress related posts – they will definitely come in handy for a noob like myself.

Make sure you put enough time aside for yourself and some gaming (ooh, and get Rainbow!).

Can't wait to see new additions to your portfolio…

I wish I could jump ahead a couple months so I could add the projects I’m working on to my portfolio now. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel it’s definitely my best work to date.

Make sure you put enough time aside for yourself and some gaming (ooh, and get Rainbow!).

I just spent about 2 consecutive hours playing Super Mario Galaxy – finally finished it, too. So I’m still getting some gaming in. Not sure if I’ll get RSV2, though. Wasn’t big into the first one and was never a fan of the overly complex controls. We’ll see. Might give it a rent.

Well well well, I was wondering what was happening Matt.

Welcome back to the world of freelance. I think it’s an awesome decision you have come to.

Good luck with it. 🙂

Best of luck mate.

It’s a truly awesome decision you’ve made to be able to spend more time with the family while getting back to the work you love.

Dan

Excellent position to be in with a new baby. You’ll get the chance to see those important baby things that dads who work all the hours God sends in an office one hour’s commute from home won’t.

The key is self-motivation and having the skills to rely on without needing a helping hand from colleagues.

You’ve clearly got both. Good luck!

You'll get the chance to see those important baby things that dads who work all the hours God sends in an office one hour's commute from home won't.

Yes sir! Deanna often calls me away just to see what Addison is doing, which is great! I won’t miss a thing. 🙂

Dude congrats! I think you’ve made the right choice, and teaming up with your wife will probably be great for the both of you. Personally, I’m looking forward to read a bit more about design, dev, and WordPress. Again Matt, congratulations!

…and teaming up with your wife will probably be great for the both of you.

Indeed, we’re really tight as is and get along great. I only see good things coming out of this.

I was wondering if a blog post was coming about the change!

Congrats and good luck! You’re going into this with experience, an amazing work ethic, skill and a great reputation – success is inevitable!

I was wondering if a blog post was coming about the change!

Yeah, I had been holding back. Initially, I wanted to have a whole bunch of rad shit to roll out when I made the announcement, but there’s just not enough hours in the day to make it all happen any time soon.

A black day for freelancers 🙂

Seriously, already looking forward tho what you’re going to do in the next months… good luck!

A black day for freelancers

Shit, that’s hilarious! I will admit, my timing could have been better. Quite a few of the big guns have recently gone freelance. Hopefully there’s enough room for all of us to do well.

Congrats Matt! You’ll do great! You’ve been here before, you talented, and sounds like you have a great client base in the works.

Family time comes first for sure, and hopefully you’ll squeeze in some time for gaming. It’s tough sometimes. I have two boys, a lovely wife, and work full-time+some, so gaming takes a backseat often. However, I did pick up Rainbow Six Vegas 2 last night. Maybe in your spare time you shoot us a review on this one sometime in the future.

Again, good luck in your renewed Freelance career! No more working for the Man…nice.

Family time comes first for sure…

Indeed, it absolutely does. Sounds like you’re in a similar situation. I hope everything is well on your end.

Good luck.

It’s a good choice. Even if decision is hard !

you’re right : it’s the role you belong to 😀

good luck matt! i am contemplating making the jump as well, although it would be for the first time (to completely support myself through strictly freelance only)… a little scary :

…a little scary

Yeah it is. Just be sure to do your research before you jump ship. There’s tons of amazing resources out there, so make good use of them. Take in all of the knowledge you can gather from others that have been successfully freelancing and try and follow in their footsteps when it comes to dos and dont’s.

Congrats! *DOWN WITH THE CORPORATE WORLD* 🙂

Good luck with everything Matt. I’m looking forward to the new design here as well.

Hey Matt, are you surrrre you don’t want a job doing corporate work from home?

Baha.

Ooook baaaad joke. 😉

Good luck on your new path dude. You’ll be missed and I’m sure you and Deanna will make a great team and kick azzo.

All the best.

Good luck with the new (old) role.

And I’m really looking forward to the new site design and seeing those free WordPress themes.

Congrats on the move Matt. Having Deanna help out will definitely make things a lot easier. Now hurry up and finish off that blog design, I want to see it up already. 🙂

I’m so excited to see:

a) Your redesign

b) Your free wordpress skins! Please consider doing some premium ones too, at 100 dollars or less. If I had the money, I would hire you to do my site in a second, but having a premium theme available to buy in my price range I would jump at!

Yes please do up some WordPress! I would love to have a new skin for my blog, and I can finally move on to newer material (for my posts) and actually have some place to store them!

Congrats! Your wife is pretty, your baby is cute, everything’s going good! Keep it rocking!

Hey Matt, just passing by to say hello!

I’ve read you went back to freelance, and I can totally understand your feelings about the whole thing. I mean, once you get so used to be your own boss and to manage how you deal with every aspect of your job, it always feels like you are losing something when moving into somebody elses business, no matter how amazing that business is and no matter how good the pay is.

I am Italian, and I have been freelancing for ages in Naples, back where I was born. I live in London UK now, and I work in somebody’s business. I am totally loving it because the people over here are amazing and I am also getting a lot of knowledge and bla bla…

but it still does not feel as great as it did when I worked by myself!

And you know what’s funny? I stumbled on your website some months ago and I started to read it regularly because we are quite similar minded. And not just that!

I am almost done with my blog/portfolio (yes, we also do the same job!) and I’ll send you over the link so you can take a look. I mean, you just wait and see the pictures, you will be ‘stoked’ 😀

I’m glad you went back to freelance, it suits you much more!

And did you ever have a carrier single? You know, the best song in the package? It did really sound punk to me.

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