At Fabrizio Van Marciano, there’s never a dull day. I’ve already shared a bit about me and my business over on my about page. Here, however, I’ll share my process of working as a freelance designer, front-end developer, and content creator. I’ll also share with you what goes on in a typical working day, my workspace and hardware, my website’s tech stack, the tools that I use daily in my business, and more.
What benefits can you get from learning about what goes on behind the scenes of my creative freelance business?
Firstly, if you’re starting on your journey as a designer and developer, I’m hoping that this page will provide you with the insights, access to tools and resources, and second-most of all, the inspiration you need to make a rock-solid start. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
1. My Work Space
I have several processes for my work. The process I use for designing a website for instance is not the same as the process I use for designing logos and icons.
But generally speaking, regardless of what I’m working on, my work structure is more or less the same.
The first step is communication, planning, and strategizing. This is the most important step for me.
The second step is carrying out the actual design work, which takes the most time. This step is also my favorite. If it’s a website, I usually design a mockup using software on my computer. If it’s a logo, icons, or other visual assets, I start with my sketchbook. If I’m working on a video project, I start with a storyboard and some scripting.
The third step is releasing the first draft of my work to my client and continuing to work alongside them to make further improvements. If it’s a website, the step is called the ‘Continued Improvements.’ Logos and icons usually involve going through several revisions, as with video projects.
2. My typical working day (If you can call it that.)
Since I work from home 99.99% of the time, my day usually starts around 7 AM. I head downstairs, grab some coffee and a large container of water and begin my yoga routine around 7:15.
At 7:45 AM, I hit the shower, by which then, my family is waking up. Our kids are getting ready for school and my wife for work. At present, my wife is also working from home.
Between 8 and 8.50 AM, it’s a busy old time, getting breakfast ready and taking my kids to school. Yep, this time can be crazy, stressful, but fun too. That’s what having a family is all about, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
At 9 AM, I grab some more coffee and water and head straight into my office. I’m usually locked in there until around 12:30 PM. I give myself around 30 minutes for lunch, so at 1.00 PM, I’m back in my office until 3 PM. That’s when my working day ends.
Presently, my work, life balance is good. I end it at 3 PM because so that I can get to pick up my kids from school. The afternoon is then filled with more fun and frolics but the big bonus is that I get to spend time with my family a lot.
I work five days a week. I also work Saturday mornings from 7 AM until 12 PM straight with no break time. After that, I’m free to spend time with friends and family, and I don’t think about my work. I have to work the additional hours on Saturday mornings because I also manage a busy blog at Magnet4Blogging, which needs to be maintained, and a few other small niche websites.
3. My work space and hardware tech stack
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OK, now for the fun part, this is where I get to share with you my workspace.
My wife and I have a dedicated room in our home, which we’ve converted into an office. Our home office has everything we need to stay focused and productive.
By the way, you can check out the video below for a visual guided tour of my home office workspace!
My desk is my primary workstation. I have a six-foot Karlby wooden worktop placed on top of two Alex draw units propped on eight stainless steel raisers or short legs. You’ve probably seen many setups like this on YouTube, so it’s nothing special.
As for my hardware tech stack, my main computer is a 2018 Mac Mini with almost full specs. So that’s a 64GB Intel Core i7 with only 250GB of memory since I prefer to use external memory drives for storing all of my work.
My main computer is rigged up to an Alienware 34 inch curved true RGBA monitor, and since I do a lot of graphic intense work and edit videos, I use an external GPU.
The external drives that I like to use are Samsung T5 SSD 500GB. I have two of these. I also use a LaCie 3TB external disk drive as a backup.
My backup laptop is a 2020 M1 MacBook Air, base model. Believe it or not, this little beast can handle almost all of the tasks my main computer can. I use my MacBook Air mainly for writing because the keyboard is such a joy to use. However, I also like to edit podcasts and videos on the go.
My keyboard is a Razer Mercury white BlackWidow Lite mechanical keyboard, and my mouse is a Logitech MX Master 3 which I love using.
When I cannot work from home, for instance, if I’m on vacation or on a business trip for longer than a few days, I usually bring my MacBook Air, an external SSD, iPhone, and Vankyo Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones.
I’m always looking at new tech to add to my desk, and in the future, I’d like to replace my Razer keyboard with an Apple magic keyboard with a numeric pad, as well as a magic trackpad. The goal for me is to improve my workflow.
4. My video and content creation tech stack
I’m often asked about the gear and software that I use to create my visual content, videos, graphics, etc. So I’ll start with my primary camera, which is a Panasonic DMC G7. This is a pretty old camera now, but it’s still a great workhorse and one of the best budget vlogging cameras, even in 2021 in my opinion. The camera shoots in 4K, comes with an SD card slot for SDXC and SDHC high-performance cards, and comes with a dedicated external mic port.
For creating graphics, logos, icons, templates, and polishing up photos, I use Affinity Suite, which includes Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. I also use Affinity Publisher to create branding kits, presentations, and any other information-based products for my business.
5. My website tech stack
Everything that I do in my business is online-based, and without my website, I wouldn’t be in this business. I need to maintain my website daily. So, next, I want to share the technology that I use for my website here at Fabrizio Van Marciano.
WordPress – Ultimately, the best website and blog creation tool on the web. Why? Because it has limitless design flexibility. Whatever kind of business or niche you’re in, forget all the other platforms out there. WordPress is the way to go.
Plus, if you want to retain full ownership of your domain and content, create your website with WordPress. If you choose another platform, for instance, something like SquareSpace or Wix, that’s perfectly fine too. However, make sure you understand what you can and can’t do with your site.
SiteGround Cloud Hosting – Ultimately, the best web hosting service provider on the planet? OK, let’s stop with the best of everything. But seriously, SiteGround is a force to be reckoned with. I’ve been a customer of SiteGround since 2015, and the service has been excellent! So, if you are going with WordPress, then SiteGround is a good choice. They offer secure, reliable, and scalable cloud hosting for growing your business.
Thrive Suite – Thrive Suite is a must for anyone building an online business or starting up as a freelancer. Thrive Suite is a yearly membership that will provide you with access to powerful website growth and conversion-rate optimization marketing tools. From opt-in forms for growing your email list to designing and deploying conversion-ready landing pages, it’s all possible with Thrive Suite.
CoSchedule – CoSchedule makes promoting your content and marketing your business all in one place possible, and no more opening multiple tabs and using endless platforms to share your best content. You can do it all under one roof with CoSchedule’s marketing calendar; Social media messages, scheduling blog posts, posting on Instagram, scheduling email newsletters, and more.
CoSchedule also integrates with your WordPress site so that you can view your calendar right in your website’s dashboard. I’ve been using this CoSchedule for the last four years, and I can honestly say I could not manage my business without it.
Rank Math SEO Pro – Rank Math SEO is a complete SEO plugin for WordPress. There is a free version; however, I use the Pro version. I’ve used plenty of other SEO plugins in the past, but Rank Math stands out to be one of the best. Everything from sitewide SEO analysis, page optimization, keyword rank tracking, Schema is available in the Pro.
WPForms – WPForms is a plugin designed to help you add beautiful contact forms, and other types of forms, to your WordPress website. Again, there is a free and a premium version of this plugin. I use the premium version because I like to add extra options in my forms to make it easier for my users to submit a specific query.
Cookie Notice And Compliance Notice – Every website needs a cookie notice and GFPR compliance notification pop-up. This is a simple and free plug-and-play plugin I recommend using. You can also link your notification to your website’s privacy page.
Social Snap – There’s no easier way to encourage sharing your content on social media than to use a plugin like Social Snap. Social Snap is a lightweight, quick-loading plugin you can use to display social buttons on your website’s pages, including your blog posts. The premium version has even more features, including social analytics.
Calendly – Last on my tech stack list is Calendly, which I highly recommend to anyone starting up as a freelancer. Calendly lets you add a customizable time slot booking form to your website so that your clients can schedule a meeting with you. It’s free to use; however, a premium version lets you charge your clients by adding a payment button. You can accept payment via PayPal or Stripe.
Behind the scenes of a web designer: Wrapping up!
So there you have it, that’s my process along with my typical day-to-day activities as a designer, developer, and content creator. I hope you’ve found this page useful and valuable too. Feel free to check out any of the tools, software, and hardware for yourself. You don’t need to have everything, the key is to use the tools that are going to help you improve your workflow and increase your productivity.