The realities of beginner-Freelance

Yep, alone. A mac, coffee, an old sexy table and a tired heart — Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Last September in 2019, I started my journey as a freelance designer working for clients on a project basis.

During my journey, I have read & heard so many facts about freelancing that my head could’ve exploded from the amount of information I have digested. I’m glad I could digest it at least.

So, after almost a year into my work and experience, I have decided to tell you, my dear reader, the truth about freelancing: good and bad; exciting and boring.

Whereas for beginners, this is for you ❤

So that you don’t get fooled by guys/gals who want to seem “cool” that they are FREELANSAAAHS.

Nah, baby.

Might be even harder than a normal job.

I will present you the thoughts that went through my mind at the beginning of my journey (and maybe even now, quite often actually).

P.S.: I am not trying to generalize here. Different people react differently to various contexts. Even if you try freelancing you might be better or worse. Everything is relative.

So here goes my rant:

Absolutely! This is one of the main thoughts which I think recently as a result of quarantine, most of us have been thinking:

“I miss my work colleagues”

”I miss the social part of work”

”I cannot wait to go on coffee breaks with Jenny” (whoever Jenny may be)

Let me tell you one thing — freelancing from home is not much different than working in quarantine. I can be honest and say that once quarantine hit, I felt almost no impact on my work life — only on my social life.

As I have been working from home recently or from a room to save money (I couldn’t afford to pay everyday 20 Euros on co-working spaces in Spain) — the impact of quarantine on my work life has been almost minimum.

At the beginning when you want to save money, maybe working from home is a solution you might have to dive into.

Eventually, once you raise your hourly quotas, you can defo afford a co-working office space. Or go in coffee shops? But let’s just wait for the virus and the infection rate to settle down.

Solution: Before quarantine Facebook groups for freelancers, artists (in my case), or whatever hobby interest were a fantastic solution to socialise and meet people! Also, try Meetup.

Now, during the Corona-Time messaging old friends and Skyping almost daily or going for coffee with old friends is a fantastic option!

Absolutely! If you cannot afford yet a whole apartment with a separate office room only for yourself, often times: your bedroom becomes your office.

Which many of us can relate to now, again, with Corona.

Solution:

Have a daily ritual between waking up and working helps me to leave the “relax-zone” and enter the “work-zone”.

By the way, this ritual doesn’t have to be repetitive — otherwise it won’t help. In my case, these are some of my “transition” exercises which I alternate:

A cup of Espresso with a pinch of milk (a must always) +

  • Working out after waking up
  • Sunbathing — if it is Summer or you live in a warm country
  • Read a chapter in a book/ E-book (cheaper version)
  • Meditate (Headspace is a bucket of gold, my friends — especially when going to sleep!)
  • A Podcast (Jay Shetty’s & Esther Perel’s podcasts are fantastico)
  • And many more! — you can message me about your morning work-zone rituals

This is a funny one and I guess it is inherent to the higher-risk nature of working for yourself. After all, you truly have in one body:

  • a cook
  • a mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, etc.
  • Designer/Writer/Photographer etc (whatever your profession may be)
  • Sales manager — as you need to find clients
  • Marketing Expert — As you need to sell yourself
  • Branding expert — you need to establish your presence online & offline
  • CFO & Accountant — You need to manage your finances & investments

Having all these roles on one mind can be overwhelming! Especially after having worked as an employee. The expectations about work get a massive shift.

Client management is a whole art, which I am still learning myself and I guess we all have to go through a bit of struggle to fully understand the mastery of it.

I have been lucky to be part of a 1 year long project designing 2 mobile apps, 1 website and endless marketing promo materials, which has led me to 2 more websites to design for another client.

However, now I am on the verge of these projects ending so I definitely need to secure more projects.

Solution: I have found Helen Demina’s Instagram Course for growing on UpWork as a Freelancer and UxGoodies’ discount for courses at Interaction Design Foundation. Hopefully, I can expand my knowledge, portfolio, certifications and UpWork account so I can find more clients to collaborate with.

If you have no clients, you might have to:

  • Refresh your portfolio by doing online courses
  • E-mail some companies with a personalized website proposal for them
  • Grow an account on Freelancing websites such as UpWork, Freelancer, Fiverr (which can be quite competitive) and start applying to projects there
  • Just talk to friends! NETWORK BABY — you might find a client through them

Yep, can relate.

Solutions:

  • Use Headspace’s Sleep section — it helps me move my thoughts away from work to calming sounds
  • Run before going to bed
  • See a friend for drinks after work — you can detach yourself really well from work
  • Watch a movie with your family
  • Meditate before going to bed
  • Go for a long walk in nature or around your city and listen to music

Oh, my love. The truth is, not even Bill Gates boasts about his earnings. These words are the result of a momentarily happiness hormone increase after getting paid by your client. Trust me. Stop saying these words and maximize your income resources.

Solution: Raise your quota if you believe the service you offer is worth more financially and you overwork yourself. Or, diversify your income stream: sell templates, write articles, sell another service etc. Or work in a coffee shop & restaurant on the weekends unless you use that time for growing your freelance-related work skills.

You are baby, you are. Freelancing sounds cool at the beginning and going traveling around telling people “I am a freelancer” boosts your ego, but later you realize how much shit ton of work there is.

Solution: Practice being humble and see both the positives and negatives in any choice you make in life.

There is no right decision, all decisions have side effects: just measure where the positives outgrow the negatives.

We all are in a way :) so embrace weirdness and your looser-state. People will find that attractive when you are proud of how “stupid” you are. Genuinely. Can tell from experience.

I am gonna be honest, this thought usually pops my head when I am tired. Because most times when we are mad at something, tired or just simply hurt — we jump from one extreme to the other. Lemme give you some examples:

  • when we are freelancing and we get tired from working a lot we think: “I wish I had an office to go to, some friends to chitchat with” — but we don’t realize when we are sad/ mad that these are the reasons in the first place why we chose our current path →

Gain some perspective. Calm down. Then make drastic decisions

  • When we date someone we’ve been seeing for 3 months and they piss us off or when we break-up with them, we end up idealizing our ex before them: “he did this better, he liked chicken and this one didn’t. Taka taka taka taka...” — we don’t realize that both individuals have their positives and negatives.

I am too, gal/ bro!

It’s good to practice some gratitude everyday! :)

Yep, this is how the relationship with the client starts.

Yep, and this is how it evolves or ends in most cases.

Jokes aside, in cultures where Freelancers are seen as “individuals who don’t want to work but they just want to seem cool to compensate their laziness” — it is super fucking hard to gain credibility in such a team…

Fucking hard.

Solution: You do you. Give your all to the project. If the CEO/person who hires you or someone you admire at work sees your value that is all you need.

If Jenny who is the secretary and is quite frustrated because she has to raise a pig (her husband) and 2 monkeys (her children) and 3 devils (her cats) — cannot appreciate you, then please reconsider whose opinions you value and take to heart.

Amen.

I hope you have enjoyed the comedy above — it is the comedy of freelancing and working for clients. :)

I hope I could provide you with some help facing the issues of this type of work and I could provide relief that we are all facing the same issues.

All my love,

Hanna

Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hannafodor/

My work: https://www.instagram.com/hazza.design/

Work with me: https://www.upwork.com/o/profiles/users/~010b22449150bac331/

Contact me: hanna@fodor.com.ro

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Hanna

Reflections, psychology, art, UX, UI Design & everything in between. 🌿 www.hazza.design