I’ve been freelancing for roughly a year now, it started just doing the odd job for the company I used to work for, then as I got my name out to more and more people, I started to receive more and more work.
It really is true that word-of-mouth marketing is a gem!
I thought I’d let you all into a few secrets about the world of freelancing, and bust a few myths that have been floating around…
Clients can be a nightmare
It’s important to note, that just because you may not now work under 5 lines of management, it doesn’t mean that you won’t come across any ‘difficult’ people. Whilst I’ve never yet (touch wood) had a mishap or disagreement with a client, I have had a few occasions where I have had many sleepless nights about whether I would get the work done on time, due to a last minute decision change.
One of the joys of being a graphic designer is that most of my clients are business owners who tend to focus on the day to day running of the business, and not what their Facebook cover photo is, or what is required to make a really good magazine advert.
I’ve had clients who want an advert creating, but take 2-3 weeks to send me their brand colours and logo, and then one day after sending the information are asking if it will be ready on the original deadline which is a day away…
I pride myself on meeting clients deadlines, as I want their business, and ultimately want them to succeed, but it does mean that for that one day I’m conscious I’m running out of time, but I also want to provide an advert that I’m (and my client!) is proud of!
My tip to you is this – before accepting a job and deadline, make sure your client is aware of what they need to provide to you before you can make a start!
It won’t give you a regular income
If your life relies on a steady income, and you have mouths to feed and a morgage to pay, then you really should make sure that you will have a steady stream of clients before you make the transition.
I’ve had some months where my bank account has been down to 2 digits by the end, an I’ve had to REALLY watch what I spend, then other months I’ve had a rolling stream of clients, and have been practically rolling in the $$$ at the end (which never lasts as I am a serious spendaholic…)
I’ve managed to land myself a semi-permanent freelance role at an agency which gives me a regular amount each month, and then anything I earn outside of that is extra, which means that I’m living off two incomes!
It will teach you how to hustle, and work for your money, which is a great skill to have!
You probably won’t get paid until about 238783739 million years after you complete the work
Ahhh now I could write an essay on my frustrations of this.
Often the months when I’ve been booked out, have been the hardest months to live off, as I often won’t be paid until the end of the following month.
I like to think I have nailed the typical naggy email, but it’s something I used to, and still do, HATE.
I feel so rude, but actually, I’ve done the work, they are satisfied, and this is how I make a living.
It’s even harder when it’s only a small invoice, but they all add up, and this is what I think clients don’t realise!
You can get up whenever you like
I don’t think I need to explain this one.
Monday lie in? WHY NOT.
You can work from whatever environment suits you
This is one of the things that keeps me sane.
I’m not an indoor person at all.
I’m a country girl, outdoor explorer, I get fidgety after sitting still for 30 mins and I can’t sit in front of my screen for long periods of time. It’s just not for me!
The options are endless – some of the places I’ve worked from are:
A cafe, a Welsh caravan, a beach, a haybale, a field, a park, a bus, a plane, a train, an Irish cottage, pretty much every room in my house, a country pub, oh and my dogs bed (don’t ask)
It’s often Wi-Fi dependant, but I’m able to do a lot of my content writing when I’m out and about, and can really help the creativity process!
It’s HELLA lonely
This is something I wasn’t aware of when I started – it didn’t occur to me as being an issue at all!
With my freelance agency job, I’m lucky enough to work in an office with other people 3 days a week, which is great, but when I’ve got a website to create I’ll often be sat in my studio at home with my headphones in (music. is. life.)
It’s SO important to have a good social life, which I’m lucky enough to have as my friends are practically my family.
I’m ok with working by myself most days. That’s who I am.
But if you thrive off busy environments and office ‘banter’ then maybe look into working at a shared office in your nearest town, or join a freelance community – there’s plenty of them around!
It’s definitely something to bear in mind, as it will affect how well you work, and your enjoyment.
You get out what you put in
If you’re serious about what you do, then you will put the hours in.
I can 100% guarantee that if you love what you do, this will show in your work.
I’ve not actively looked for new clients for a few months now, and I can hands down say that I’ve never been busier – it seems that with every piece of work, I’m generating repeat business from that client, or even better, receiving referrals from people who’ve seen my work on someone’s website.
I’ve not had to spend time marketing myself, and I’ve been able to accept only the work which I genuinely have a passion for!
You can determine how much you charge…
This is one of my favourite points about freelancing.
When I first started I charged £10 an hour, and did logos for a ridiculously cheap price.
My price reflected what I believed my standard to be, and my experience in the field, and my clients knew this before they worked with me!
Now I’m able to charge much much more than that, so much so that I can do about a couple of days work a week, and still be ok if I don’t manage to get any more for the rest of the week!
…and when to take a break
I love to take time out.
Running is my thing, and when I’m bored, stressed or just need to stretch my legs, my trainers are on, and I’m out in the fields getting some fresh air.
I’ll admit that some days I’m just not in the working mood, and I’ll do an hours work, before closing my laptop and heading out with friends.
And that’s ok!
Because I know that when I return, my work will be so much better, and I’ll enjoy it.
You’ll learn so much about yourself and what works for you
By freelancing, you’ll discover what makes you tick, what sort of work you really enjoy, and which way of working is the most productive.
When I began, I used to force myself to be at my desk for 9am, like I am at the agency.
However, this just doesn’t work for me. I’m a night owl, and NOT an early riser, and I’ve accepted that.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about it, and I’m sure clients have been confused when they’ve received an email from me at 11pm, but that’s when I have produced some of my best work, and that is ultimately what they are paying me to do!
So there you go, I hope I’ve enlightened you about the freelancing world! Get in touch if you fancy a natter about any of the above!