We truly don’t know where life is going to take us. Whether it’s to new adventures or to places that we couldn’t possibly imagine being. But there’s one thing that’s for sure, good friends will always make this journey called life worthwhile. This is truly the case through my recent times as a freelancer. Starting out, I had no clue how I was going to be able to be a freelance designer, would I be able to find work? Would I have the capabilities to look after projects and be smart with my time and money? Will I be able to have money to live! (It was all good! I had savings for this time!) Those were all things that were just coursing through my head, a never ending stream of doubt, questions, concerns. But, having doubt isn’t a sign that you’re not capable, it’s just a product of fear that we can have as human beings that cause us to analyse the situation. So I did what seem like a good idea, which was to reach out to those wiser than me.
Thankfully through our blog and various interest and interactions with people, Val and I had come to know so many inspiring creatives who were doing amazingly in their pursuit of their artistic dreams and goals. So I made arrangements and was fortunate enough to spend sometime with a bunch of incredibly talented creatives, and here’s somethings that I learnt from them!
Renée is a branding and graphic design guru and one of the most incredible #ladyboss I know! She took the time to sit with me and listen to my concerns and after showing such amazing empathy, she gave me some incredible advice which made my head spin (with her amazing knowledge!) and made my heart race! She’s got an incredible marketing, branding and design brain and I took so much away from that one conversation!
- Do the thing that you really want to do, don’t put it off or be afraid. Renée started an email mailing list because she wanted to write and share her experiences. Was she a confident writer starting out? Nope! But she took the leap and as a result, she’s strengthen her writing skills and has another avenue to show clients and potential clients that she know her stuff!
- Pay yourself fairly. In the business of freelance, suddenly you’re your own boss! Which is as cool as it sounds, but suddenly, the only person you can go to for a pay rise is yourself. Fix your hourly rate to an amount that’s fair to you and the industry, include overheads in your rates (if you rent an officespace, creative cloud, resources) and don’t forget to pay yourself super!
- Market yourself and put the work you want to do in your folio. Renée got me to think about the studios/cilents/projects that I wanted to work for and ask whether I was showing the world that I did those things! That if I wanted to do more fashion related work I’ve got to let people know! Being aware of the different channels that potential clients could use to find you! Pinterest, make sure your images are pinable, Instagram, post about work and work you would like to do, Website, be clear about the work you can provide and make it easy for clients to contact you!
Bianca is an incredible letterer on Instagram who’s feed you’ve probably seen and fallen in love with! She heralded the lettering craze and creates beautiful and touching work. Love her kind heart and spirit and I was lucky enough to catch up with her for a coffee and she gave me these awesome nuggets of advice.
- Don’t get discouraged, stay hopeful when the going gets tough. Bianca shared with me that the freelance lifestyle has incredible highs and you’ve having the busiest time of your life, but can also have some lulls where no work comes in. Don’t stop making work (keep posting on instagram!) and don’t feel that there’s nothing around the corner. She told me to stay hopeful and know it’s not always going to be an easy ride, but if you wanted it to be easy, then you would have stayed on your salary pay wouldn’t you? Also, get around creatives who can support and encourage you as you journey together
- Stay true to yourself and don’t sell yourself short. Being a freelancer and especially having traction on social media channels, you’re going to have a number of request for work that sometimes may not be worth your time. Be sav-y when it comes to written contracts, quoting for jobs, knowing the scope of the exposure and doing unpaid work. Bianca said that it’s important to protect your brand, fight for what you’re worth and know that there is incredible value in your work and people should pay for it!
- Be organised with the money! As a freelancer, once you have a BSB an establish yourself as a business you have the capacity to claim certain things on tax! From petrol from driving to meetings, to art supplies and magazines as resources. These are tax deductible as they are a part of making sure your business runs! So keep all your receipts, be smart with tracking your accounts and come tax time you’ll be glad you did it!
Hong Yi is a visual artist who makes art from everything but a paintbrush! She’s worked on awesome projects from large scale installations to minute art pieces on plates. I spent two months with her as a contracted designer and illustrator and I learnt so much from her and was so inspired by her approach to work and enthusiasm for life in general! Here are somethings that I learnt from this awesome lady!
- Create work you love and the clients will come. When you make work that you love and explore approaches that you’re interested in, you’re going to create things that are going to be interesting, unique and exciting, why? Because you’re excited by it! Clients are always looking for something new to create for their company, and if they’ve seen what you’re already capable of and love it, guess who they’ll call for their new project! Hong Yi does so many self directed projects just because she wants to play and explore! And those projects are seen, shared and appreciated!
- Just say yes and ship it! After Hong Yi spent sometime with the marketing guru Seth Godin (google him and prepare to be inspired!) she took away the truth that you can have an idea, but if you don’t set a shipping date (delivery date) that idea is going to stay in the dock! Believe in your ideas and push them forward and don’t let them sit and stop with you. Your idea doesn’t have to be perfect, but you still got to ship it and it can evolve and grow as you try, try try! And once you’re done with that idea, move onto the next one. The projects will feed into each other and expand your creativity.
- Market yourself! Reflecting what Renee had told me, Hong Yi said that marketing is such an important thing when if comes to running your business! This is not a natural thing for artistic people to do, we tend to like being in the background and are a little shy. But you’ve got to put your marketer’s hat on and be excited about yourself and your projects! Hong Yi encouraged me that when I talk to people, I should tell them what I’m interested in, what I’m about and start to think of myself as a brand! So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and share with others what you’re all about.
So those are some amazing tips that I got when I started my freelancing journey! I’m so grateful to these beautiful creatives who shared from their experiences and life lessons. Because of their bravery and courage, they can now bless others with the things they have learnt! Be brave and courageous guys!