Working in web development, sat in front of a computer screen all day, it’s easy to feel a bit fed-up and isolated from time to time. For most of us, the decision to go freelance is grounded in the pursuit of greater happiness, yet all too often the pressure of running a business can have the opposite effect. It is important to recognise and overcome this, as staying cheerful has many other related benefits, such as confidence, ability to overcome work challenges, motivation in difficult times and, most importantly for us creative people, inspiration and enthusiasm. It’s hard to be creative if you feel stifled or depressed, and this will show in your work, which ultimately can affect your bottom line.
As a freelance WooCommerce developer myself, I am no stranger to the working from home slump. I thought I’d share some of my top tips for staying bright eyed and bushy tailed, and actually enjoying that freelance freedom you worked so hard for!
- Fight boredom, try new things! Are you working for the same clients, doing the same thing, over and over again? Your projects will most likely suffer as you disengage and your creativity switches. Try something new, be it a new text editor, new client, new plugin – mix it up a bit!
- Collaborate. Try working with some other designers / developers, or just having a chat; they’ll likely have a fresh take and perspective, and might have a different way of doing things, maybe even better than yours (shock, horror!)
- Learn a new skill. Unless you really are the world’s best developer (really?!), there are likely to be things you don’t know, language you’re unfamiliar with, plugins you’ve never used, industries you’ve shied away from. Be brave, and get involved!
- Share the wealth. If you are in fact the aforementioned world’s best developer and genuinely have nothing to learn, there are plenty of people who do, and would love the opportunity to benefit from your infinite wisdom. Get down to your local meetup, college or school, and teach others the tricks of the trade! You’ll likely find that fresh minds come up with fresh perspectives, so you might learn something after all! If you don’t fancy teaching in person, why not set up a blog, or a YouTube channel; find creative ways to share your knowledge and show off your skills – you might even land a few new clients in the process.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. If you’re finding that you’re doing the same things for the same clients in the same industries day after day after day, and sheer monotony is getting you down, consider turning a few of these projects down, or subcontracting them out in favour of more interesting projects that stimulate your creativity. You won’t grow as a developer without stretching yourself and putting your wide-ranging skills into practice – if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it, so seek out projects that challenge you professionally.
The above are just a few ideas of how you can fall back in love with development. Above all, just remember why you chose this path to begin with – get back in touch with your creative side, and perhaps think about pushing a few boundaries, you’ll likely find many of them were self-imposed and easily over come.
What tips / tricks do you have? Share and I will add them to the list to help out our fellow developers.