There are a lot of freelancers and budding web design companies out there who are more or less dipping their toes in the water. The hope is that they can either make a living off of web development/design or hopefully make a great living off web development/design. This is an unnerving feeling, three toes in the water. You can feel the water but it is cold, and you know if you could just get all the way in the water it would be refreshing. I know this feeling, as I was there myself not too long ago.
Don’t take a job just because you feel antsy about getting work
The mistake I made over and over because of this feeling was getting into projects that I knew were bad ideas. Now there was a post about firing your client that really reminded me of this. There is a tendency to accept any work you can when you feel like things are slow. It happened to me when I first started out, it happened to me again earlier this year when I merged companies. You need to have faith that if you do good work and get your name out there the demand will come. You do more harm than good getting into projects and jobs with people who are abusive, unrealistic, clueless, won’t pay, etc…
It happened to me many times
In one case I agreed to do a website for less because the prospect said “I promise we will keep it easy.” When the scope changed drastically (into the use of AJAX and flash) I informed him that I would have to switch to hourly because there was no way to estimate the amount of time it would take to complete the project. At the end he questioned the billing and the company got paid less than the amount of time spent on the project. The request for a lower cost, and the reasoning should have been the first clue. I knew it was a red flag, yet I ignored it.
I promise there is enough demand, be patient
There is enough demand in web design/development where anyone reading this could make a good living doing it if you care enough to push for it and learn to do great work. Sure there will be times where you are watching your spending closely, but the demand will come.
Instead of taking that job that your gut tells you is a horrible idea, spend more time working on marketing yourself. Spend the time you would have wasted in meetings that never lead to a paycheck and go to some networking events. Participate in some local groups. Get your blog going for some natural SEO benefits.
Sometimes you don’t see it coming and you do have to fire a client you thought was great. But 90% of the time it has happened to me I saw it coming, I just ignored it because I wanted the work in a slow period.