Quitting my Day JobPosted: April 25, 2011
Something I consider one of the more interesting facts about me is that I’m self employed. When I left New York for Denver I decided to make the switch from working full time to freelancing. It’s not atypical for a graphic designer, in fact it’s quite common. It always entices some questions from people. “Is it scary not having a steady paycheck?” Yes. It is. “Do you like working from home?” Most of the time, yes. “Where do you find work?” Where don’t I find work.
Big perks of being self employed include never putting on makeup during the week, living in sweats, going to the gym at off-hours, and never sitting in rush hour traffic. Biggest perk: working remotely when need be (currently, I’m stuck in Tulsa till Tuesday as the weather is completely unpredictable here) or when I feel the need to be somewhere else (Hawaii or Florida just to name a few). Downsides include financially unstable times (unstable in the sense that some months are great, others not as great, which for the most part balance each other out) and going completely stir crazy in the house by myself. While I’m thankful she is here because I can’t imagine the silence without her, Logan doesn’t prove to be all that great of company throughout the day.
Freelancing is a lot of things, but it’s not for the cautious. I refer to the lifestyle as “feast or famine”. It’s completely unpredictable. One week I’ll be so busy that I consider hiring an intern. The next week I spend additional hours at the gym and organizing the house or cooking a meal that consumes 6 hours of time, just to fill the day. I suppose the key is to take it all in stride: to enjoy the free time when you have it, but work hard when the work presents itself.
The key to freelancing is word of mouth. I’m comfortable with it now, but I’ve been acquiring clients for the past three years. You build up your business in lots of different ways. I receive work through word of mouth, people seeing my website, my local company with my business partner, a freelance staffing company based in New York, a local temp agency (because sometimes it’s nice just to get out of the house), and from my old boss in New York.
Want to break out on your own? Tell everyone you meet what you do, always carry business cards, and be patient. It takes time to build up a business. Anyone else have any tips on how to score freelance work?