Dear Diary: The Road to Freelance

Dear Diary: It is corny - but it has always been my dream to pursue freelance design full-time. Throughout the years I have worked with small and large clients on an array of projects. However because I have always worked full-time at a demanding job already - it was difficult for me to take on more than one or two outside clients at a time. While freelance certainly comes with its challenges (taxes?!?) I really enjoy working with lots of different kinds of people and getting to experiment with diverse styles. While I have loved working as an in-house designer over the years - you do have to stick within brand guidelines, and it can often feel repetitive.  With my freelance work - no client is exactly the same, so I am constantly challenged to solve different problems and work in a variety of styles. I really enjoy the diversity.

Some of my favorite freelance projects over the years have been creating logos and branding systems for creative and passionate small businesses. It is my hope that as I pursue freelance full-time I will get to work with more clients in this vein.  I am also hoping to pursue more illustration work and work on some personal projects. 

But I do have a confession to make - I am fucking scared. Taking the plunge into freelance is a huge step - and a precarious one. I have grown used to a consistent paycheck, PTO, sick days and the like. With freelance - I don't get paid holidays and I won't necessarily have a steady stream of clients coming in. I will have to do a lot of work in pursuing clients, invoicing, collecting payments, and marketing myself*.

But as much as I am crazy scared - I am also incredibly excited. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a working style that is very fitting for freelance work. I like to work alone, and I am actually productive working from home. I love working on several different projects at once - I feel happiest when I can switch around throughout the day from one project to the next. And lets be honest I am very excited about the flexibility. I know my working habits well - and I really enjoy and feel more productive when I take time off in the afternoon and go for a walk. This is really hard when you work at an office. I also will have greater flexibility to move around since I will already be working with clients remotely.  Setting my own schedule is something I think will be a challenge but also a major perk to being freelance. 

My transition into freelance full-time will start on July 12, 2014. I still have a few months - but I know this time will go by so quickly. During this time I am going to majorly re-work my website and start lining up clients. It is so so so hard to brand yourself - so I know these next two months are going to be grueling but also fun. I hope you don't all get super annoyed with my self-marketing - I wish I didn't have to do it, but I know I have a business to build and it is an inevitable component. 

Over these next few months I am also going to be focusing a lot more on my blog and creating unique content. One of the series that I am working on that I am most excited about is called "Freelance Wisdom" where I will be posting advice that I gleaned from amazing freelance designers and artists. 

Do you have any advice or cautionary tales for me as I take this leap? Post below in the comments :)

xox Jess

* again I apologize for the self-marketing. please let me know if it is too much or if you have any tips for marketing without being annoying!

Photo by Ellie Koleen