11 January 2024

15 Project Types You’ll Encounter as a Freelancer

By usamerica_us

Have you ever heard of the toughest creatures on Earth? They’re called Toughus Freelancerus, commonly known as Freelancers. We not only survive clients from hell, but we also work tirelessly on low-budget, otherworldly projects while keeping our sanity intact. Some of us even long for the days when we were young and innocent, with no worries except not being taken seriously.

I’ve been lucky enough to make it this far, and I feel obligated to share some of my scary, oops, I mean, projects that freelancers are likely to encounter. Although I wouldn’t wish upon you a fate as dreadful as mine.

So, you’re just starting out as a freelancer, huh? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. I’m here to walk you through the weird and wacky world of client projects. Buckle up!

The Ups and Downs of Freelancing

Freelancing is all about freedom and flexibility. But it also requires a truckload of self-discipline and motivation. It’s a double-edged sword, my friend.

1. The ‘Iron Man’ Project

Ah, the ‘Iron Man’ project. Brace yourself for this one. It’s the kind of project that has “world-changing” written all over it. The client thinks they’re inventing some groundbreaking new metal. But here’s the twist – it’s all happening in their head. Yep, twice over.

I bet you’ve heard the word ‘revolutionary’ tossed around so much that it’s become a reflexive action to question whether the thing being described is truly as groundbreaking as it claims to be. When it comes to freelancing, this scenario can result in the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, depending on how genuine and innovative the project actually is.

15 Project Types You'll Encounter as a Freelancer

But you know what? These types of challenging projects are actually quite thrilling to most freelancers, including myself. We love the opportunity to work on something revolutionary that not only pays the bills but also pushes the boundaries of what’s possible. When I come across a project like this, I always make sure to protect myself by requesting a contract and asking for 50% of the payment upfront.

Project #2: The ‘Clone Wars’

Imagine this: you’re given the task of creating a website that will completely transform the way humans interact with each other. It’s like combining the best features of Facebook, Pinterest, and Vine into one groundbreaking platform.

At first, everything seems exciting and promising. But as you dig deeper into the technical side of things, you start to encounter some challenges. You realize that it’s going to take more time and effort than previously anticipated. So, naturally, you ask for additional hours to complete the project.

Unfortunately, they inform you that the budget is tight and there’s no room for extra expenses. Instead, they suggest creating a clone of Pinterest. They seem content with having a platform that imitates a popular social media site, as long as it looks similar.

When you complete a project and receive payment, it’s tempting to move on without mentioning the Pinterest clones you used for inspiration or the similar projects you’ve worked on before. It may feel like the dark side of freelancing, but it happens.

3. The ‘Jack of All Trades’ Project

In today’s world, being versatile and skilled in many areas is often more advantageous than being an expert in just one. However, there are certain projects where the client assumes you’re a master of all trades!

When you listen to all the things that the client wants and turn them into a list of job requirements, your list might look like this: I need to be really good at CSS, CSS3, HTML5, JS, PHP, MySQL, Python, C++, C#, C, Photoshop, Illustrator, Copywriting, SEO, and making Animated GIFs… and so on. It’s super important for me to make it clear what I can do before we start working together.

15 Project Types You'll Encounter as a Freelancer

If you manage to master all those skills, it’s time to see if your client is willing to pay up.

Jack of All Trades vs. Master of One: A Designer’s Point of View

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4. The ‘Trouble Saver’ Project

Your job is to clean up the mess that the previous designer made. Based on the messy code scattered throughout the project, you can tell that it was probably done by inexperienced freelancers… not college students. It seems like your client hired cheap workers but ended up hurting himself.

Fixing design mistakes made by previous designers can be a relaxing job, but make sure to get paid in full before handing over the finished project. You never know if the project you’re working on is actually a collection of unpaid work from a client who has disappeared!

5. The ‘Sixth Sense’ Project

As strange as it may sound, the project itself becomes the client. It revolves around the essence of the client, often referred to as their ‘feel’, and you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology or a sixth sense to truly understand how to deliver this project.

When clients say “design a website that’s amazing and unique,” you’ll be surprised by the countless adjectives they use to describe something that doesn’t exist.

15 Project Types You'll Encounter as a Freelancer

When it comes to any design task or project goal, things can quickly change depending on the client’s personal taste. But let’s face it, you don’t have the time to play mind reader and try to anticipate their every preference. That’s why it’s crucial to narrow down the project outline and gather as many details as possible. Without a clear direction, you’ll find yourself stuck in the endless void of uncertainty, where the client keeps saying, “I don’t feel like it’s right.”

6. The Project Within A Project

The Project Within A Project exemplifies why it’s essential to have a contract in place, rather than just relying on an agreement with your client.

Well, here’s a scenario that most web designers can relate to. You’ve just submitted a design and eagerly anticipate the sweet smell of success, only to be hit with the dreaded rejection the very next day. But here’s the twist – it’s not your design that’s the problem, it’s their logo. Suddenly, they demand a new logo for their brand in order to make the website design work. Otherwise, they won’t consider the job complete. And just like that, a new project is born!

Now, you find yourself in a tight spot. Losing the money is not an option, considering the immense effort you’ve put into this. So you dive headfirst into creating the logo, the mascot, the copywriting, and even the SEO. But enough is enough. You decide to state the obvious – you’re a web designer. Only then do they agree to discuss your concerns with their own web designer.

But hold on, I’m the one who designed their website! The chaos just keeps going, and the only thing that’s for sure is you won’t be getting paid anytime soon.

7. The ‘Need for Speed’ Project

It usually begins as a simple task, but then it quickly snowballs into a full-blown project. Out of nowhere, a client appears and presents a project that sounds like the world will end if you don’t help them. And then they drop the two magic words – fast and easy. It seems like a good deal, and since it won’t take up too much of your time… why not?

You start working on the task, but then they suddenly ask for more details than they did before. You try to negotiate for more time, but to your surprise, they say it’s no problem!

15 Project Types You'll Encounter as a Freelancer

When you have multiple projects with strict deadlines, your time becomes extremely limited. Suddenly, it feels like the world is coming to an end. This situation reminds me of a valuable lesson: sometimes it’s necessary to charge double for your services just to determine if the client truly needs you to rush and save the day.

8. The ‘Fight or Die’ Project

This project has a way of making you doubt yourself, but interestingly enough, it’s also the one you’ll proudly show off to your friends and children. As freelancers, we often embrace challenging projects that push our technical and mental abilities to the limit, only to discover later that the project is simply too tough to conquer.

So here you are, faced with a decision: give up and admit defeat, or push through the challenges with unwavering determination. You’ve chosen the latter, refusing to surrender. Instead, you’ve embraced the struggle, shedding tears in the solitude of your room.

But in the end, it all comes together. Not only do you receive a well-deserved paycheck, but you also gain immense respect and admiration for yourself. You feel invincible, ready to conquer anything that comes your way. It’s as if a voice inside you whispers, “Know when to let go and move on” – wise advice for a healthier, happier life.

9. The Affordable Project

Let me tell you about a situation I’m sure many freelancers can relate to – dealing with a low-paying client and feeling stuck because you need the money urgently. This kind of project is what I like to call a “cheap project from a cheap client.” It’s not ideal, but sometimes you have to take it, even if it’s just to pay your rent. Here’s how I manage these situations:

  1. First, I make sure to get 50% of the payment upfront. This way, I can use that money to quickly take care of my rent and avoid any trouble with my landlord. The remaining amount can go towards ensuring I don’t have to deal with a growling stomach all day long.
  2. But let me tell you, these cheap projects can really take a toll on your mental well-being. It’s not just about the money; it’s the stress and frustration that come with it. It feels like your body is enduring any kind of torture the client can think of. It’s definitely not a pleasant experience. That’s why I always remind myself to have some backup savings for times like these. It’s essential to have that financial cushion to fall back on when things get tough.

10: The ‘Forever Billing’ Project

Have you ever worked on a project for a huge corporation, only to find that they never actually paid you? It can be frustrating, to say the least. It’s one thing to send out invoices, but actually getting the money in your hands can be a different story altogether. Sometimes, you might even hear back from the client, only to be told that they don’t have the funds to pay you. And worst of all, there are instances when the client disappears without a trace, leaving you empty-handed and bewildered.

15 Project Types You'll Encounter as a Freelancer

It’s hard to summon the courage to ask for payment, even though we deserve it. But it’s crucial that we confront the client as soon as possible because the longer we wait, the less likely we are to get paid. Don’t settle for emailing or calling them; you need to face them directly at their office or invite them out for a meal. Once you receive payment, you’re free to leave the client, even if they try to lure you into another project.

Great Tools for Freelancers: Invoicing & Accounting Made Easy

Check out this collection of free invoicing tools and services that will help you manage your billing systems and invoices efficiently. Some of them include [list examples].

11. The ‘Relative = Free’ Project

My cousin has this brilliant idea to design a website for his college project, and guess who gets to be the lucky technical slave? Yours truly. Thanks, Mom.

Okay, fine. I can’t deny that we’ve had some pretty good times together, so I’ll give it a shot. But little did I know that this would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

It quickly becomes apparent that my cousin doesn’t have a clue about building a website. So, guess who ends up doing all the work? Yep, that would be me.

After countless explanations that are more exhausting than actually doing the work, it becomes easier to just do everything on my own. It’s like I want to shout to the world that I have no idea what I’m doing, so no one else asks me for favors again.

12. The Not-So-Friendly Project

So here’s the thing. Picture this: your buddy comes to you with a project, and being the awesome friend that you are, you can’t say no. But here’s the catch – this friend, well, they have a special talent for making those sweet, sweet Z’s. You know the type, always snoozin’ and snorin’ like it’s a full-time job.

Now, the pressure’s on. If this project doesn’t live up to expectations, guess who’s getting the blame? You. Yep, your friend will be all like, “Yo, you were supposed to help me out, we’re pals!”

But let me drop some knowledge on you. When it comes to close relationships and projects, it’s usually best to steer clear. I mean, helping out your friend with important stuff is cool and all, but when it comes to anything involving big bucks, that’s a whole different story.

Number 13: The ‘Multiplayer’ Project

Hey there! It’s not every day that multiple freelancers are hired for the same project. If you find yourself in this lucky situation, congrats! You’re about to gain some valuable experience while collaborating with other experts, just like yourself. But before you dive into the work, there’s an essential question you should ask your fellow freelancers: “Has this boss paid you before?”

This question is more than just a requirement. It’s a strategic move that serves two purposes. First, it helps you confirm that your client is reliable and trustworthy. Second, it offers an opportunity to connect and chat with your fellow freelancers, which sets the stage for a friendly and collaborative working environment. You’ll also get a chance to learn how to work on the same design simultaneously without any technical conflicts. And here’s the best part: you can achieve all of this without even speaking a single word!

15 Project Types You'll Encounter as a Freelancer

When I’m working with a team of professionals in an office, it feels like the good old days. But this time, there’s no office politics to deal with. It’s a refreshing change.

14. The ‘More Than Money’ Project

Sometimes, it’s not just about money. And it’s definitely not about exposure either. Freelancing can be a beautiful and meaningful experience, and that’s what the ‘More Than Money’ project is all about.

Imagine this: you come across a charity organization that’s running a campaign. They desperately need a designer for their banner, but they don’t have the funds to hire one. But that doesn’t stop you. You decide to do it for them, asking for nothing but a smile from the children they help as your payment. And when that banner is finally raised high in the sky, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride. You’ve done something good for the world, and that’s priceless. It’s a way to replenish your good karma, the kind that brings true joy.

There are moments when your partner’s birthday is right around the corner, and you want to create something special to surprise them. You want to show them that they have an amazing partner, which is why dating a geek is the best. Money is great, but there are things that bring true happiness in life.

Let me tell you about the dream project. It’s the kind of project that makes you say, “Oh my god! Oh my god!” when you receive an invitation email, whether it’s from Google or Facebook. You can’t help but check it over and over again to make sure it’s real because it seems too good to be true. It feels incredible. It’s like tasting something incredibly sweet. It defines you as a top-notch software engineer.

You know what? Brace yourself, because you’re about to be bombarded with all sorts of technical mumbo jumbo and fancy techniques that you’ve probably never even heard of. But don’t you worry, because let me tell you, it’s all worth it! Now, it’s been three whole months, and you might think that the project is over and done with, but guess what? It feels like it’s just beginning. You made sure to leave a few different ways for folks to get in touch with you, and after giving the screen a longing look, you finally clicked that sign off button.

I gotta tell you, the sunlight has never appeared so radiant, and your life has never felt so darn amazing. You can’t wait to arm yourself with some fresh new skills and knowledge today, so that one day you can experience that vivid dream all over again.