It’s been three years since I became a full-time freelancer so it’s time to reveal What being a freelancer has taught me! Way too many things to write them all down… And, after all, being a freelancer is a never-ending learning process.
I started freelancing with no previous knowledge about being a freelancer whatsoever. All learned was learned in a self-taught process. I had no idea how to talk with clients, where to find them, how to organize my daily work and keep improving my skills at the same time. But somehow I got it! That’s why it’s really a pleasure to share these lessons with you!
What being a freelancer has taught me
LESSON #1: You can’t get things done without the actual doing first
This could come as a shocker to you but that’s really one of the things what being a freelancer has taught me. You see, whenever you have a project, you can procrastinate, you can hope, you can pray, you can gain materials or reschedule your deadlines for days and even for months.
You can wander around all day looking for inspiration to make that one perfect design and meet that one so imperfect deadline, but it won’t change a thing. Only doing will. Nothing gets and nothing ever will get done unless you get your shit together.
Many people tend to dream. A LOT.
- About all the magical greatness they’ll have or they’ll be one day.
- Most likely – with a ton of amazing jobs (because this generation is willing to be workaholics and they’re not dreaming about neverending laziness, although you might fight against this one).
- They would have the best clients, the most fulfilling portfolios, there will be a line waiting for them to be available. Oh, sweet glory!
But along these dreams, people tend to forget to work for them.
- It includes that one super annoying project you’re willing to throw in a garbage can and just disappear without a trace from your client’s phone book.
- That includes long nights with an insane headache when you can’t decide whether ”light yellow” or ”light golden yellow” is THE color to use.
- It includes digging through tons of insanely awful ideas. That’s where it all hides, baby!
And you can’t get things done without doing them first. Start with smallest little things, continue with amazingness.
LESSON #2: Inspiration comes from the process of making things happen
That’s something every designer understands at some point in life. And, I bet, it’s true for many other professions as well!
There are tons of things creative people are doing when they feel stuck. For some, it’s inspiration gathering from other like-minded people: looking at their portfolios, reading their blogs or seeing some kind of videos. For others, it’s all about themselves. It could be a physical activity like running or yoga, maybe just a walk, sometimes it can be reading or sunbathing, for some – cooking or literally nothing doing.
But after a while, even when you’ve already met your new amazing ideas, you just have to start doing to get to even better results.
You have to understand that inspiration seeking doesn’t get you going. But doing… once again doing is the real thing!
LESSON #3: Always give yourself more time
Whether you plan time for a project, you’re scheduling your week or looking forward to getting some offline time. In any case: give yourself more time than you first thought!
Any creativity will get cut off if you’ll be tight on deadline.
And, yes, we all know that story about doing anything just when the deadline hits. Anyways, while designing, I’ve learned that “one month” seems way better than “ten days“. That gives you time to catch the right moment for doing the project. If you’re creative, you know what I’m talking about.
LESSON #4: Prioritize your own projects
Yes, that’s right. We all need money and we all are looking forward to doing our client tasks in the best way possible, do them with passion and in good timing. But.
If you’re missing out on your own passion projects, you’re risking it all. Working only on client tasks will drain you out sooner or later. After all: it’s something someone else needs. And that’s great, no doubt! We all have various reasons for being a freelancer. But for the sake of your creativity and sanity: your own projects should go first on the line! Or, at least, make sure to squeeze them in your weekly schedule.
Be mindful of your time and great things will happen!
LESSON #5: Cooperation is the way to success!
- Outsourcing a part of the project
- Taking on a job you’ve never done before
- Letting go of the control
- Trusting someone you don’t know