It's been about 3 months since I embarked on this little adventure, and I have learned A LOT. I'm loving it. It's a new adventure every day, but it's hard stinkin work!
So, I thought I'd share with you a few things I've learned so far. And please, if you are in the same boat as me, or a much more seasoned freelancer, I'd love your feedback.
1.) Schedules are necessary
One thing I was really looking forward to in this new phase, was freedom. I don't have to be at work everyday at 7:45 am. No bell is going off at 3 pm signaling the end of the day. I don't have to hear the alarm go off at 6 am.
But, despite these freedoms, more than ever, I need a schedule.
So, I have many. I have a monthly calendar (color coded) with deadlines and important dates on my desk. On top of that, I have a weekly to-do list posted on the side of my desk, breaking down the main things I need to do each day. And then, just to really make sure I stay on task, I've gotten into the habit of scheduling out my entire day the night before. This includes things like "8 am - drink coffee, read devotion", "9 am - shower", and "2:30 pm - take a break", besides all the work things.
And, I color code my iists - of course.
2.) When in doubt, say yes.
I started offering hand addressed envelopes and menus in my etsy shop in July, and I thought that was all I was offering. However, within a few weeks I had the following requests:
Can you design my entire invitation suite? - Can you design a custom logo for me? - Would you like to be part of our styled wedding shoot? - Can you write out my wedding vows in calligraphy? - Can we hire you to do our graphic design?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I had doubts in myself, but I decided to go for it anyways.
I did not intend to get into invitation design, but I have found that I LOVE IT. I didn't intend on doing logos - but that's been great too! And now my porfolio is expanding.
And the best part, is through saying yes...I've learned what to say no to. Which brings me to the next thing I've learned...
3.) It's ok to say no.
Sometimes people ask for really strange things to be made. Sometimes they ask for things I'm not capable of making. Those things are easier to say no to.
What's hard? Things that I WANT to make so badly but can't fit in! I haven't gotten this one down yet...
When I see the words "Can you do a custom menu for my wedding? Or can you paint my mom's cute dog?" I get really happy! I love drawing pretty words and painting animals! So when the next question is "Can you do this in a week?" and I look at my schedule and I really have no way of fitting it in...I've been saying yes anyways. Oh dear.
This leads me to the next thing I've learned:
4.) I need to set boundaries
Hard work is honorable. Hard work pays off. And hard work is Biblical:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
But hard work can become an idol in itself. I really like what I do, so I like to work. But when I start getting obsessed with "succeeded" and all that other stuff, I'm working for ME. There are other things that are more important too, and I've learned lately that I need to get my priorities in check.
No matter how much I have to do when I wake up, I still need to nurture my relationship with the Lord. He has given me the ability to work hard and He's providing. He is awesome.
I need to nurture my relationship with my hubby. This means making time not just to hang out with him (that's easy! we have so much fun together!), but to do the things that make him feel appreciated (yet I don't find fun)...like keeping up with the house stuff and helping him out with things when HE is really busy with work and other things.
I need to rest. And take care of me too. I need to make time for the things that help me function best. Running. Eating right. Pursuing friendships. Ya know, all those things.
5.) A billion other things
Yep. No way this list is stopping at 5 things. I think I'm learning things every single project I take on. I'm learning to balance the "schedule" with going with the flow. I'm learning that sometimes I just don't work well in the morning and I need to save some things for later in the day. I'm learning to nail down my shipping costs and who I prefer to ship with. I'm learning that there is a white pen that writes particularly better than all other white pens in the universe. I'm learning that I need to not check my email constantly, because then I get distracted.
And a big one: I'm learning that I don't actually need a nap everyday. Enlightening.
So what about you? Any tips/advice/thoughts/feedback you'd like to share about freelancing? Any links to good articles you can send along? Stories of learning things the hard way? Please pass along...we artists need to stick together!
Happy Thursday friends,