I’ve survived 6 months! Yep I am now a fully fledged freelancer! I’d say the first 6 months is the hardest and most demanding. It’s when you settle into the daily routine of being your own boss and also learning a lot about yourself. I’ve learned that I can be lazy at times and I’m the only person that can kick myself up the backside to get motivated again. I have also learned that I know what I’m talking about and I am good at what I do, after years of doubting myself.
I do have the awesome opportunity to be working as a reviewer for GraphicRiver for a set amount of hours a week so that luckily pays the bills.
To this day I have not advertised or pitched for any work. I’ve been very lucky to have clients find me and want me to work on their projects. I do however feature my work on several websites and communities. Here are just a few that I highly recommend signing up to and becoming part of the community yourself:
ThemeForest – I sell Tumblr themes here
3D Ocean – I sell 3D models and materials here
Microlancer – I’ve set up some services here that customers purchase
Dribbble – I upload little snippets of designs for things I’m currently working on
LinkedIn – Yes I have a LinkedIn profile. I’ve had some clients find me through this website.
Most of the work I have had has come through by word of mouth, ongoing client relations and referrals. Get your work out there and get it seen!
Another factor is getting paid for the work you do. Make sure your price list is structured well and competitive but don’t under sell yourself because your desperate for work. ALWAYS take a deposit from new clients. I’ve always taken a 50% deposit from new clients just as a back up and it also makes the client want to get the work done. On the other hand I have clients who I have worked with for months now and they always pay and promptly. For these clients I don’t ask for a deposit. It makes them feel trusted and it also creates a better working relationship because they don’t get hassled for payments.
I’ve also had clients who pay in full before I’ve even opened Photoshop. Obviously everyone would love to have these types of clients but I sometimes feel pressured and feel like everything should be done yesterday.
Find yourself a good hourly rate and make sure it covers everything you need. It should be a price that allows you to not worry about stressing out over money issues. When I started freelancing when I was still working full time I charged £20 an hour which is extremely low but I was only a part time freelancer. So I could not dedicate my entire day responding to emails and not being able to answer phones calls because of the full time gig. Since quitting the day job and going full time freelance I have increased my hourly rate. I’m actually thinking about increasing my hourly rate in the new year.
Keep up the Communication
Clients like to know your still alive and sat at your desk working. Always make sure you respond to emails as soon as possible and in some cases just pick up the phone and call them. Talking to the client direct gets things done quicker and helps each side understand issues better.
Good saying: ‘Measure twice, cut once.’ This can relate to design work. Make sure you understand what the client requires before starting the job so you don’t have to redo things and start from scratch again.
Stay Focused and Organised
Make sure to structure your day in an effective and organised way. First thing I do in the morning is make a coffee and eat breakfast. I then check and respond to any emails I may have received. I then get down to the most important stuff, work. I drink plenty of water during the day as well, it keeps you focused and hydrated. I then eat a healthy lunch and get away from the monitor. If it’s sunny outside then I’ll sit on the balcony. After lunch I work up until around 4pm if I’ve started work earlier then 9am. Then I’m off to the gym. It is very important to keep your health up and stay fit. As freelancers we can’t take time off ill and get paid for it.
If I don’t have much client work to do throughout the day I answer support tickets, update my Tumblr themes and start designing new ones. Selling themes and graphics online is a great source of passive income. Some months I earn enough to pay my rent which is a nice bonus.
I can safely say that I am 100% happier working for myself and working on what I want to work on. Whenever someone asks me if I recommend going freelance I say YES! Do it! If you have the mind set of wanting to be your own boss and your motivated then do it. Why not? Life is far too short to be doing something you’re not happy doing.