Thomas Rekem is an independent web designer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but he is entirely self-taught as a web designer. He says that for people who are really serious about learning how to design websites, everything you need to know can be found online.
“Confucius said that if you find a job you really love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” Thomas Rekem says. And that has been his experience, since he took up designing websites fulltime about ten years ago. He is passionate about what he does, and says that he loves nothing better than the challenge of designing and implementing a functioning website that meets all the needs and expectations of his client.
He says he learned early on to look at his clients not as somebody who commissioned him to build a site, but as a teammate and collaborator. It’s the client, after all, who will be using the site when it’s finished, and so his or her input is essential. “I look at them as long-term partnerships, because usually I stick around as a webmaster once a site goes online. I update and troubleshoot.”
As a freelance web designer, Thomas Rekem says that he probably works harder, and works longer hours, than he would if he were merely on staff somewhere. During his work hours he focuses on the job at hand and little else. It has honed his organizational skills and improved his ability to manage time. “Freelancing isn’t easy,” he says. “But I love what I do.”