Sunday, 14 July 2013

Freelance - A Year In

Just over a year ago, I finally took the plunge and ventured out into the big, scary world of the freelancer. 

My first batch of new business cards

Despite it being something I'd been considering for a while, the security of having a full time job kept me from taking that initial leap. In spring 2012 however, the recession finally took it's toll and I was made redundant from the little company I'd been working at. This was the push that I'd been waiting for. Rather than rush out to the job centre, I set about preparing myself for a life of freelancing. This was a fantastic opportunity and I was determined to make the most of it. Like they say, when one door closes, another opens. 

Luckily, I'd been taking on the odd freelance project in my spare time to satisfy the urge to do my own thing. So already had a taste of what to expect. 

Map - work in progress
Although I had a couple of clients already set up, one of my major fears now was that they would stop giving me work for whatever reason. I was a tad worried about keeping all my eggs in the same basket. So I set about planning how to get some more. It started off gradually, but as the year has progressed, I've been gaining more clients. Mostly my enquiries have come through social media, chance meetings, and on the back of personal projects that I've undertaken. I feel pretty lucky that I'm yet to implement my plan... though it's there, waiting, for when I need it. 

Lily the studio bird
Working from home was something that I've had to get used to. I already had my studio set up in the spare room, so taking on a rented studio space seemed like an unnecessary cost. Although It would be nice to have a space where I could see and talk to other people, working from home has it's benefits. You can drink as much tea as humanly possible, wear what you want, and listen to whatever music you feel like. Which is nice. I also got myself a little assistant too, a small parrot, (green cheek conure) who is a welcome distraction when things get a tad stressful. 

Another thing that I've had to get used to is the lack of routine. There's no-one to be annoyed if you're late into work, and no-one to tell you to go home at the end of the day. It's something I've admittedly struggled with to a certain extent, but am hoping I'm finally getting on top of. I'm still working longer hours than before, getting up earlier, and working later too. I still have to learn to put work down.

Learning crochet
My skill set has grown with every new project, in order to accomplish the wide variety of projects being sent my way. I've learned a lot more about photography, 3D illustration and much more about working in Adobe Illustrator. I've also picked up a lot of new crafting techniques, crochet, needle felting and embroidery, as well as doing a bit of woodworking too for various books I've worked on. A fair few of these are now things I now want to carry on with in my spare time.  


I've really enjoyed the journey so far, I've done some work I'm dead proud of and projects that I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in. There's been times of frustration, sleepless nights and stress, but they're by far outweighed by the good. The best thing is that I'm now responsible for the work that I do, and that means doing every job to the best of my ability. 

I'm incredibly grateful for the people who have given me a break, involved me in their fantastic projects, commissioned maps, illustrations and who have given me the chance to be my own boss.