Being a freelancer

The benefit of becoming your own boss is that you have the right to follow your own rules.

Nowadays, this is something very attainable and more and more people search for flexibility and freedom in their workspace and personal life. Freelancing might not be the easiest professional path, but it could certainly teach you not only how to build your own business but also to establish the right mindset to grow it, develop it, and live with it.

How did I become a freelancer?

Freelance is definitely not for everyone. We are all so different – people from all walks of life, with different experiences and expectations,  and if something works well for me, that doesn’t mean it works equally good for someone else. For me, personally, there’s nothing better than being my own boss, but it is important to recognize that there is also a tremendous amount of work and effort behind making that decision and living as a freelancer.

I would like to share my thoughts and some habits I’ve built during my practice as a freelancer and how this impacted my daily life. And don’t forget – everyone has a different story and has to write it on their own. Here is mine:

Shortly after I started studying graphic design, I realized that I like organizing my time the way I want to, be free, choose projects by myself that I actually like. When you hear it for the very first time it sounds like a delightful dream because it’s so easy to say “I don’t want to have a boss, I want to be my own boss”, but when it comes to actually doing so – it’s a completely different story. In my case, the freelance adventure happened very naturally with no pressure at all. Somehow, scheduling my college tasks, work appointments, side projects have taught me to balance things out. I’ve become a very neat person, I’ve built my morning routine and by creating a nice environment I started enjoying spending more time at home and also working from there. And honestly,I would say that the key element is good discipline.

Have a strong discipline

Let me highlight this again. The first and most important thing about being a freelancer and working from home is discipline. I can barely imagine how hard it would be to wake up on time, to work efficiently from home, or even stay motivated day after day without discipline  If you go to the office you already have a structure, you subconsciously know there isn’t another way and it’s easy to follow it. But a lot of people associate home with a place to rest, to enjoy hobbies, and sleep. That makes it a bit difficult for some people to wake up early for example and go to “work” in the other room or even worse -r in the same room. And that’s also a reason why many of us struggle so much during the pandemic when we are “stuck” at home office. 

But with the right structure, it’s possible and even easy to maintain and enjoy working from home. 

Discipline isn’t just about waking up early in the morning, It is about the multiple small and hidden habits in the background that define your daily structure and how you implement your routines. Freelancing is a choice of life and a mindset.

Another important part of freelancing is knowing what you have to deal with.

Don’t misunderstand it – freelancing isn’t simply working on projects you like. There are daily hustles such as managing personal finances, self-promotion, developing your personal brand, contacting people and potential clients,  broadening your professional network, looking for new work opportunities and projects, learning and improving skills, etc.

How to deal with finances?

The good news about your accounting is that you don’t have to deal with finances all by yourself. Find a tax advisor who can help you with the challenge of accounting your taxes, income and outcome. It’s normal not to like exactly that part of freelancing if that isn’t in your area of competence or interest. Moreover, when you get used to it with time, it stops bothering you and gets even easier to deal with.

Build your own portfolio. Promote yourself/ Go online

We live in an era where it’s almost impossible to stay offline, especially if someone works as a freelancer. Whenever someone decides to hire a freelancer, the first thing he or she would ask for is your portfolio – the work you have done so far, your style, the end results of your former projects. It is, of course, still possible to “hide” a bit and not show all of your work and get clients from good references, but why not show your work online? Even if you are not allowed to share some projects, you can still present some other projects.

If you are at the beginning of your career just come up with your own projects you would love to do in the future or try different things around and then present these online. I think experimenting with different kinds of projects is one of the keys of finding your own niche and also building a portfolio if you don’t have much to show to your future clients and audience.

Connect with people

Probably one of the best parts of the digital era we live in is the ability to connect with people. Online or offline, just take advantage and connect with as many people as possible. Yes, there for sure are a lot of introverts among freelancers, but we, as humans,  are more or less designed to connect with other human beings. I’ve always been a social person and this only proves to me that I’m on the right way with freelancing. It’s such a nice experience to meet people who are on the same wave and are valuable to you both on a personal and professional level. So my advice would be – try to go away from toxic relationships and search for open souls who have positive energy. I’m a big fan of the law of attraction and there are many, many good examples in my life that prove it works

In my experience as a graphic designer, 90% of my clients came from connections from my network and I still work on that principle.

If you are unsure of how to make new contacts just go on networking events or search for people with similar ideas and interests online.

Learn and improve your skills

This is probably my most favorite part of working, no matter if you are a freelancer or you have a regular job. As I mentioned earlier – freelance is a choice of life and I will tell you why. 

I have been observing something very interesting lately. In the last few years I not only try to learn more advanced techniques in my work, but I also try to learn and explore new things about myself. And here is the connection between these two – the more you try to grow as a person, the better you will be able to grow your business, because freelance is just part of your life and not only a job you do for money, it’s a calling and mindset.

Photos by:
Lukas Blazek on Unsplash
STIL on Unsplash
Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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