Launch Website
Introducing Matthew's Design Co.

I recently launched a new website, brand, and company to accommodate an increasing demand of client projects. If you’re interested in hiring me, please visit the new website. mattolpinski.com will soon be focused entirely on helping freelancers. You can learn more about the transition here. Thank you!

—  Matt Olpinski

Article Archives

Browse all 76 of the articles I've written.

Types Of Contracts All Freelancers Should Know As 2+2

The promise of a better life and a flexible schedule is tempting more people who feel stuck in a 9-to-5 job to start freelancing. But it's not as freeing as you might think when you're in charge of every area of your business, including the legal contracts.

Proposals & NegotiationStarting a Business
Introducing Matthew’s Design Co. (and explaining the big changes ahead)

Find out all the details of how I plan to navigate the transition from freelancer to company while maintaining my relevance and relationship to freelancers.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
How to Schedule Multiple Freelance Projects (and Avoid Burnout)

You must have a system in place for scheduling freelance projects, setting your availability, and maximizing your down time if you want to avoid burnout and keep your freelance business running smoothly.

Project Management
Why I Transitioned from 1099 to S-Corp (and How It Impacted My Freelancing Business)

If you're a freelancer, you're likely operating as a 1099 contractor. But that means you're paying high taxes, have no legal protection, and you're being perceived as an individual, not a business. Switching to an S-Corp can change all of that.

Taxes, Legal, and Insurance
A Beginner’s Guide to Value-Based Pricing

A value-based project is simply a fixed-fee project where the price is determined by the value of the outcome to the clients business – not the estimated time it will take to complete.

Pricing & PaymentsProject Management
6 Ways To Upgrade Your Website And Get The Clients You Deserve

In order for a website to keep working hard on your behalf, you need to give it a bit of regular attention. In this article, Jodie Manners outlines 6 ways you can upgrade your website today and start getting the clients you deserve.

Branding & MarketingGetting Clients
6 Pricing Strategies for Freelancers (and When You Should Use Each)

As a freelancer, you get to decide how to bill your clients – and there's no right or wrong billing strategy. In this article, we'll look at hourly rates, daily rates, weekly rates, monthly retainers, fixed-fee projects, and value-based pricing methods and identify the pros and cons of each.

Pricing & PaymentsProject Management
2018 Year In Review

2018 was thrilling from day one. It was packed with highs, lows, and countless exciting changes. Check out all the amazing things that happened in my life and my business as I reflect on this incredible year in detail!

Starting a BusinessYear In Review
Why I Turned Down $30k and Refused to Get a Job in College

My parents were skeptical about my decision to be a designer. They thought I was nuts for refusing guaranteed income from a college job to "freelance" with no experience. But that all changed once I started getting experience and gaining momentum.

Getting ClientsStarting a Business
Introducing The Freelance Institute – A global Slack community for freelancers.

Learn why I created a global Slack community for freelancers dedicated to learning and professional growth. Take a look behind the scenes and find out how The Freelance Institute was born and what my vision is for thousands of freelancers all over the world.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
How to Earn Freelance Income Without Any Clients

I've talked to dozens of freelancers need to find paying clients right now, but there's another way to earn money that most freelancers forget about. In fact, you can earn regular income every month without any clients at all. All you have to do is sell your own work.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
Why Thinking Like a Client Will Change Your Freelancing Career Forever

Most portfolio websites are focused on the wrong person. Thinking like a client might be all you need to kickstart your freelancing career. Find out how seeing myself from the perspective of a paying client redefined my freelancing career forever.

Branding & MarketingGetting ClientsStarting a Business
Teach Freelance Clients to Respect Your Time By Setting Business Hours

Do you ever wonder why clients assume that freelancers are available 24/7, over weekends, and after hours? It's because too many freelancers respond to their requests over weekends and after hours. Teach clients to respect your time by setting normal business hours.

Client ManagementProductivity
How to Defend Your Design Decisions Without Sounding Defensive

When you put a design in front of a client, they're inevitably going to have an opinion on it. These strategies move the conversation away from who is right or wrong and re-focus both sides on the business goals the project aims to achieve.

Client ManagementProject Management
How I Earned My First $10,000 as a Freelance Web Designer

It took me a full four years to earn my first $10,000 of freelance income. Working 15 hours per week for most of each year, that works out to about $1.95 an hour. That's not good even for a college student, but that's where my story began.

Branding & MarketingGetting ClientsStarting a Business
7 Lessons from My First Year as a Full-Time Freelancer

After one year of full-time freelancing, I share the observations I made, lessons I learned, advice I have for anyone interested in becoming a full-time freelancer. Make sure you have a desire to freelance, not just quit your 9-5 job. A false motivation can quickly lead to failure.

Getting ClientsProductivityStarting a Business
How to Make Your Invoice Names a Little Less Awful

Most freelancers don't spend time thinking about the best way to name an invoice, but caring about the seemingly trivial aspects of your business (that other freelancers ignore) is what will set you apart in the eyes of your clients.

Pricing & PaymentsProject ManagementStarting a Business
Don’t Break Your Own Rules

I only experience problems with clients when I break my own rules. Accepting that position, attitude, and perspective is what enables you to learn and grow from your mistakes and make better decisions in the future.

Project ManagementStarting a Business
12 Things You Should Remove From Your Portfolio Website Immediately

A collection of brutally honest tips for what you should remove from your portfolio website immediately before someone decides to not hire you (and what to replace them with instead).

Branding & MarketingGetting Clients
How to Turn One Small Project Into Years of Predictable Income

There's nothing more valuable than having predictable income when you're a freelancer. Unreliable income holds us hostage to our business even if we've managed to free ourselves from past employers.

Getting ClientsProject ManagementStarting a Business
How to Stay Comfortable as a Freelancer Even When You’re Stressed

There's no avoiding stressful and uncomfortable situations when you run your own freelancing business. The key to staying comfortable during stressful situations is to maintain control of your business from every angle.

ProductivityStarting a Business
2017 Year In Review

After over two years of freelancing full-time, my business has finally started to run itself. It's become more organized and efficient. I know what to expect from it. The kinks and quirks have been ironed out and that helped make 2017 my best year of freelancing yet.

Starting a BusinessYear In Review
5 Tips for Managing Sick Days as a Freelancer

You aren't allocated a specific number of sick days each year as a freelancer. That's why it's important to have a plan for sick days before they happen.

ProductivityProject ManagementStarting a Business
How to Find More Freelance Clients

If you're trying to find more freelance clients, you've got it all backwards. Instead, spend time giving potential clients more ways to find you.

Branding & MarketingGetting ClientsStarting a Business
Find Your Own Success Without Idolizing People in Your Industry

Is there anyone in your industry you really admire? Anyone you follow intensely on social media? Blogs you read religiously? If only you could be more like them, your career would be better, right? Not necessarily.

ProductivityStarting a Business
What Do You Need to Start Freelancing, Legally?

What are the minimum legal requirements to start freelancing? You don't need contracts, tax forms, or a legal business entity. Just pay your taxes!

Starting a BusinessTaxes, Legal, and Insurance
How To Build A High Performance Lead-Generating Website

You can't expect your website to attract and convert more leads just by making it look better. Many other factors contribute to your website's success.

Branding & Marketing
How to Write Great Copy When You’re Not Actually a Copywriter

Learn how to write great copy for your website that converts viewers into customers even if you don't have experience with copywriting, sales, or marketing.

Branding & MarketingGetting Clients
2016 Year in Review

2016 wasn't filled with many professional achievements or accomplishments. It was quiet and more refined. My business grew naturally, and it grew a lot.

Starting a BusinessYear In Review
Reduce Referral Spam in Google Analytics Without Using Filters

Referral spam can pollute your Google Analytics account and make it impossible to track user data accurately, but you don't need to use complex filters.

Branding & MarketingProductivity
How to Decline a Project While Helping The Client Succeed

You won't be a good fit for every project, but don't leave your clients empty-handed. Learn how to decline projects while guiding them towards success.

Client ManagementGetting ClientsStarting a Business
25 Simple Design Terms Every Client Needs to Know

Have you ever worked with a designer and felt like they were speaking a totally different language? Every industry has it's own vocabulary. Before you invest thousands of dollars into a designer, you should familiarize yourself with their language.

Client ManagementProject Management
15 Simple Development Terms Every Client Needs to Know

Have you ever worked with a developer and felt like they were speaking a totally different language? Every industry has it's own vocabulary. Before you invest thousands of dollars into a developer, you should familiarize yourself with their language.

Client ManagementProject Management
So You Want to Be a UX Designer?

If you want to be a UX designer, you'll have to be more specific. In this article I'll explain what UX design really is and how to make a career out of it.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
How to Structure Your Bank Accounts for Massive Financial Success

As a freelancer, getting paid is at the top of the priority list. But what do you do with the money once you have it? It's time to structure your finances.

Pricing & PaymentsStarting a Business
6 Tips for Negotiating a Higher Salary

Each year people accept salaries less than what they deserve. It seems like employers always have the upper hand, but that doesn't have to be the case.

Client ManagementProposals & Negotiation
How to Market Yourself to Startups as a Freelancer

Over 100 million new businesses each year are trying to stake their claim in the startup world, but with so many businesses trying to create "the next big thing", finding the right startup to work with is tricky.

Branding & MarketingGetting Clients
My Journey Through College, Design Agencies, and Freelancing

In this interview, Lakera's thought-provoking and inspiring questions got at the heart of my college and career life to reveal the path that led me to where I am today. I want to share our conversation with you in hopes that it will inspire you to recognize your passions and pursue your dream career.

Starting a Business
The Simple Tweet That Got Me Featured on Dribbble

In 2016, I was featured as a success story in Dribbble's "For the Win" series. Find out how Dribbble helped me make over $150,000 in just 3 years.

Branding & MarketingClient ManagementGetting Clients
Should you call yourself a freelancer or a consultant?

Before deciding what to call yourself, it's important to understand how people perceive consultants and freelancers, but at the end of the day, the way you position yourself is more important than what you call yourself.

Branding & MarketingClient ManagementGetting Clients
How I Solved a Complex UX Problem Using the Bible

Find out how I used the Bible to solve a complex UX problem and design an interface that made browsing municipal code online easier for anyone.

Branding & MarketingProject Management
Add 50 Hours to Your Month by Subtracting Social Media

Do you ever wish there were more hours in a day? Most of us end our days feeling like we haven't accomplished enough. The truth is, you can grant yourself that wish if you're willing to sacrifice the time you spend on social media.

A Simple Design Process to Use for Every Digital Project

There's a simple 3 step process that you can use for every digital project by breaking the design process down to it's fundamental elements.

ProductivityProject Management
Why Responding to Every Email is Good for Your Business

Responding to every email is a great way to build your network, but it's also time-consuming. Using pre-made email templates will save you hours each week.

Client ManagementProductivity
How I Sold a $6,000 Website to a Non-Profit Using Value-Based Pricing

Find out how I sold a $6,000 website to a non-profit using value-based pricing and why they agreed to pay 100% of the total cost upfront.

Pricing & PaymentsProposals & NegotiationStarting a Business
2015 Year in Review

After two amazing back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014, I wasn't sure if 2015 would be able to top it. But it totally did. I hope that by sharing my accomplishments I can inspire you to do great things in your personal and professional life too.

ProductivityStarting a BusinessYear In Review
5 Tips for Qualifying a Freelancer

Finding and qualifying a freelancer for your next project business isn't easy. Hire the perfect person for your next project without a hassle.

Getting ClientsHiring a FreelancerProject Management
Struggling with Late Payments? Stop Blaming Your Clients

Have you ever been stiffed by a client? You convinced them to hire you, everyone was eager to get stared, and everything seemed to be going great, but the client either paid you late or never paid you at all.

Getting ClientsPricing & PaymentsProject Management
3 Pricing Strategies Freelancers Use to Calculate Project Fees

You probably know by now that most freelancers will use hourly rates to calculate the price of your project, but did you know that there other pricing methods too? Today, I'd like to introduce you to a few common pricing strategies used by freelancers.

Pricing & PaymentsStarting a Business
How to Identify and Attract Your Ideal Freelance Client

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the perfect clients always reaching out to you for work? It’s not only possible, but completely attainable for any freelancer. The key to attracting the right clients starts with understanding what you offer and what your clients are looking for.

Branding & MarketingGetting Clients
Gravity Forms + ConvertKit: The Killer Combo That Defeated MailChimp

When I first started my newsletter, my goal was to cultivate an audience that I could educate and offer paid products to in the future. So, I quickly researched popular email marketing platforms and chose MailChimp, but it turns out that ConvertKit was the better choice.

Branding & MarketingProductivity
Which Mobile Solution is Right for Your Business?

With mobile devices becoming increasingly integrated into our daily lives, it's safe to say that a mobile web presence is going to benefit your business. The real question is, which one is right for you? Believe it or not, a fully responsive website is not always the right option.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
Get Back in Control of Your Inbox With a Single Click

When you look at your inbox each day, how do you feel? Do you dread opening Gmail because of all the emails that need your attention now? If you're anything like I was, you'd be stressed already and not even out of bed yet.

How to Maximize and Manage Your Time as a Freelancer

Freelancing awards us the freedom to choose the hours we work, but it is important to have a plan for your days and weeks, even if that plan changes from time to time.

ProductivityStarting a Business
12 Essential Freelance Tools That Will Keep Your Business Running Smoothly

Being in business for yourself comes with a lot of added responsibility. Gone are the days when you can focus on your work and leave the billing, scheduling, client management, project management, and new business development to someone else.

ProductivityStarting a Business
How to Convert Your Leads Into High-Paying Clients

As freelancers, we put a lot of time and effort into getting new leads, but we often forget how to close the deal once they arrive. A new lead isn’t much to brag about unless you can convert it into a high paying client who understands the value of your services.

Client ManagementGetting Clients
5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Hiring a Freelancer

Freelancers often underestimate the amount of questions you have and the number of objections you need to overcome in order to hire them. The best thing you can do before hiring a freelancer is take the time to identify and define the purpose of the project.

Hiring a FreelancerProject ManagementStarting a Business
Boonle: A New Type of Freelancing Platform

Imagine a world where freelancers pick their clients on a first-come, first serve basis without any bidding or approval process. A world that allows them to enhance their skills, experience, and reputation while also turning a small profit for quality work. And what if it was totally free?

Getting ClientsStarting a Business
How to Write a Winning Proposal

Did you know that writing a winning proposal starts long before the proposal is written? When you get a new lead, it’s up to you to ask qualifying questions that determine if the client and their project are an ideal fit for you and your business. This is called “qualifying” your lead.

Getting ClientsProposals & NegotiationStarting a Business
6 Things I Wish I Learned From New Media Design at R.I.T.

Design students often graduate without some of the most vitally important "real world" skills necessary to thrive in their creative field. Yet, many of them feel prepared to totally dominate the industry on graduation day. I was no exception.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
3 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Freelancer

Having worked with a lot of clients over the years, I've realized that the most successful ones do their homework. Outsourcing work to a freelancer or design agency you know very little about is a scary thought, especially if it’s work your business depends on.

Hiring a FreelancerProject Management
Get Hired With The Perfect Online Student Portfolio

If you are pursuing a degree in any digital or creative field, it is no longer optional that you have a personal website to show off your best work to potential employers. Thanks to many of the latest advancements in web technology, it's easy for anyone to make one.

Branding & MarketingGetting Clients
10 Signs You’re About to Work With a Difficult Client

It's difficult to know which clients to work with and which ones to avoid. It's not always easy because that can sometimes mean rejecting potential income and a new portfolio piece, but working with the wrong client is never worth the headache.

Client ManagementGetting ClientsStarting a Business
The Golden Question No Other Freelancer Is Asking

The freelancing market is more oversaturated now that it has ever been before. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, simply asking this question will tell the client that you know what you are doing and that you care about their business.

Branding & MarketingGetting ClientsStarting a Business
You Might Not Need a Redesign After All

Complete website redesigns are sometimes necessary, but they often require a large financial investment and leave lots of room for error. If you aren’t ready to hire a firm to guide you through that complex process, try using these suggestions to make the biggest improvements with the least amount of effort.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
How to Successfully Kickstart Your Freelancing Career

When I first started freelancing, I didn't quite know what I was doing. Here are 6 simple tips for taking your freelancing career to the next level as you work towards getting more projects and clients.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
Good Looks Don’t Bring In Sales

Pretty doesn’t count. There are plenty of designers out there capable of providing a brilliant design for your website. However, form and function don’t always solve underlying problems and meet the clients ultimate goals.

Branding & MarketingProject Management
The Most Effective Way to Present Your Designs

Everyone has an opinion about the way things look. Even the most trusting clients will have revisions and change requests waiting for you after you present your work. But why? After all, they hired you because you are the expert, right?

Client ManagementProject Management
Viewing Your Website as a Powerful Business Tool

Viewing your website as a business tool requires a perspective shift. You have to see it as an investment rather than an expense and it all starts by asking the right questions. Broader, more business-oriented questions.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business
How Long Does it Take to Build a Website?

Whenever I am prospecting a new opportunity with a client, I often get asked how long it will take me to build the new website or application. The short answer is, it depends. Here are some factors that affect the timeline of a web project.

Branding & MarketingProject Management
How Much Does a Website Cost?

It’s surprising how many clients ask for a ballpark quote. Unfortunately, answering that question requires more information as each quote should be tailored to the clients specific business and needs.

Pricing & PaymentsProject ManagementStarting a Business
The Purpose of Wireframes

Wireframes are the skeleton or structure behind the user interface. They don't define the "look and feel", but rather the layout, hierarchy, and interactions that make a good user experience.

Branding & MarketingProject Management
You Can’t Patent a Good User Experience

Every company is different, making it unique. So, making the UI or UX unique isn't hard to do because I'm designing for the clients specific needs, not to satisfy my own creative desires. But let's face it, websites have things in common and sometimes those needs overlap.

Project Management
How to Respond to an Email That Could Determine Your Future

Just before he graduated college, one of my friends asked me to help him write a response email to the president of a company he really wanted to work for. This email could determine his future with (or without) this company. Here's the story of how I helped him respond to the CEO.

Client ManagementGetting Clients
Invisible Design

When we use the word “design”, chances are it doesn’t translate the way we, as designers, often think it should. Too often, design is perceived as only being visual, but that’s only partially true.

Project Management
Debunking the SEO Myth

SEO isn't something that you need to hire a company to do and it's not something you need to pay for. SEO is something anyone can do on their own and it's completely free.

Branding & MarketingStarting a Business