Tuesday, September 25, 2007

on making a wage

so you might recall a little while ago, i wrote a post about how i make money. this is a bit of an update. i'm still working at the wood shop and the grocer, but i've finally started working on the websites and i've made a little chunk of change with the deposits. once those are done, i will be posting links to them here.

i'm really glad to be working on these sites. i enjoy it and it doesn't make me feel grimey. i am pretty confident that my sites are cleaner, easier to use, and generally better than what most people with dreamweaver would design. but then i hit a wall.

you see, even though i design better than most amateurs and even some pros, i am now behind the "industry standard" for web design (there is a whole list of standards for websites that corporations and government institutions strive to uphold. in my experience, small businesses and artists are about 50-50 in upholding them). i've been looking at a lot of sites and without getting into too much mumbo jumbo, i've realized that i need to update my process for design. i learned web design about three years ago now, and it's beginning to show.

not to say that the sites i'm already designing are not up to snuff. after extensive research, i believe i have asked for nothing more than what my clients will get. i've seen people ask for more money and design sites that are uglier and less functional than what i'm working on.

but here is where i have to contemplate something. i can learn a fair amount on my own about updating my design process to be closer to "industry standard." but somewhere along the line, i could learn a lot more if i took a class of some sort.

part of me wants to learn more just out of principle and pride: if i'm gonna ask for money, i should execute it to the tee. another reason for learning this new set of web skills is that once i become current with my design strategies, i could potentially ask for 3-5 times as much money as i am asking for on my current design projects--but is it worth it? should i spend the equivalent of what i would charge for building an entire site to acquire some new skills that may or may not yield an income? i mean, web design is great--it's creative, i can be my own boss (kinda) and it has high earning potential. but it's not my passion. it doesn't make my ears tingle or give me a sense of purpose. would it be better for me to spend that hard-earned money on something else, like a trip to a new city that could inspire my writing, or renting video equipment for a weekend, or renting a rehearsal space for a new show or... rent? credit card bills? insurance?

i don't know. if any of you fair readers has any advice, i'm open to it all.

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