If you’ve done similar jobs in a row, such as designing websites for 10 different auto repair shops or writing hundreds of articles on credit cards, it’s likely that you’re looking for a change. It helps to have a bit of variety when it comes to web working, and taking on different projects and clients is a good way to do this.
What types of projects should you undertake if you want something different?
The Passion Project. Ever been interested in a no-paying or low-paying gig even when you’re not financially desperate? Sometimes, there’s a project that you really want to do regardless of any monetary benefit for yourself. This could be for a non-profit organization, a cause you believe in, or a field you’re interested in. These types of projects are often great morale boosters.
However, it’s important to know the difference between a passion project and being duped. There are several jobs out there that promise nothing but ‘exposure’ and ‘good karma’, but some of them are just trying to get away with a freebie. Just make sure that your passion project won’t require so much time and effort that it’ll look like an unpaid full-time job.
Keep in mind that some high-paying gigs can also be considered passion projects if you’re willing to do them even if you weren’t paid.
The Big Project. When a Fortune 500 company or a renowned individual wants to avail of your services, then you know you’ve landed the big project. Of course, ‘big’ is relative to your own measure of what big clients are. Is it the money they’re willing to spend? The exposure you’ll get? The popularity of their brand? Will other web workers die to land this gig?
Apart from becoming the pride of your portfolio, the big project will allow you to work with a business or client that is larger than the scale that you’re used to. Along the way, you’ll be able to get a sense of how they got to where they are and what you can do to become ‘big’ yourself.
Remember that taking on this kind of work requires some preparation. If your client likes the finished product and refers you to other big leads, you should be able to handle the referrals that come pouring in. If you’ve already got a business plan that tackles that kind of expansion, then you’ll get the full benefits of landing a big-time project.
The Ugly Duckling Project. Not all web workers create consistent high-quality work. When someone’s taste or judgment falters, it’s your job to swoop in and make things better. This is the Ugly Duckling Project, something that would’ve been left abandoned if not for the hope that it’ll eventually turn into a swan. Examples include a website design you’ll need to fix, badly written code you need to clean up, or website content filled with so many errors that you’ll have to rewrite everything yourself.
Working on an ugly ducking project will definitely raise your self-esteem if you thought you were the worst out there. Aside from that shallow realization, it’s such a rewarding feeling to transform things into the best form they can possibly be in. My most grateful clients often come from these types of projects.
The Group Project. Most freelancing web workers seem to be at home with working on their own, but eventually you’ll run into a project where you’ll need to work with people other than your clients. This is where the group project comes in. Usually, a group project is initiated because of its extensive scope, or because the project requires some additional skills which you don’t currently have. Whether you choose your teammates or your client chooses them for you, you’ll need to adjust to working with a team.
If you’re used to working alone, you’re bound to learn some things when working with a team – even if it’s just the realization of why you should go back to working solo.
These four are some of the most important project types that we’ll be encountering throughout our careers – but I prefer to seek them out consciously, especially since they become learning experiences, create opportunities and allow us to step outside of our comfort zone. Plus, breaking out of the usual and almost repetitive jobs keeps the web working thrill alive.