Wow guys! I just want to say thank you for all the positive feedback I’ve been getting in response to the series, Freelance 101. So very encouraging! Last week we talked about Them ‘Dollar Bills’, and the week before on ‘How to get Started’. I’ve never seen myself as a wordy blogger type of person, but to my surprise my words are making a difference, so thank you all.
This week we’re going tap into some of the more practical parts of freelancing, the real nitty gritty parts which are so very crucial.
Get Dreaming and Planning
First off, whether you’re opening a shop, restaurant or you’re choosing to go freelance. One thing in common across all these start-ups is that you need a business plan. You’re probably thinking, “damn, you did not just get all academic on me.”
Trust me, I use hate all forms of business plans/ goals, bullshit academic like things, just the word ‘business plan’ itself seems so daunting. But what changed my mind to actually being excited about making a business plan, was when I started thinking of it in a different light. Think of a business plan as just ‘dreaming’ and planning how to achieve those dreams. At least for me, my mind suddenly makes the switch of doing something seemingly tedious into something fun; dreaming is easy!
A business plan is really important because it helps get your dreams from your mind on to paper- giving you an overall map as to which direction to head towards with the actions and steps to get there. It doesn’t need to look like a 5 page essay, mine simply looks like scribbles and a brainstorming map.
A couple of quick questions that come to mind are: What’s your mission statement? What services will you provide? What clients are you targeting? Who’s your niche? Where do you want to be in 3 months, 2 years, 5 years, down the line? Find out what defines you, and what doesn’t define you.
For me, my clients are start-up business, young couples, creatives alike (bloggers, food stylist, etc) from 20-55 young, trendy individuals that like quirky, minimal, illustrative designs. I want for them to not have a carbon copy logo, but a logo that really speaks to their personality. So it is in my very concern to get to know them and their business well! In 3 months time, I want to continue building my cliental and gaining recognition online but also in publications. Something I want to aim for is to get more hand lettering and illustrations into magazines, books and such. 2 years down the line, I want to have a stationary store of some sort running online (or better yet in the physical) where I can sell my own line of products, while still building my repertoire as a great design studio influencing the design world around me. Something that isn’t what I aimming or planning to do, is have my business turn into an agency. I don’t plan on hiring other people to work under me. Why? Simply because of preference, I just don’t want to see myself growing as an agency but more so as an independent designer. That is just the tiniest glimpse into my business plan but I thought it’d be helpful to share!
Read More, Internet Less
2. The Freelance Handbook by Computer Arts
This magazine-book was on sell early January 2012 in the UK alongside with the other magazine-book I suggested last week from Computer Arts, it’s not print anymore but you can get it online. It’s great, because it’s short and easy to read, bullet-point form kind of writing with step to steps to freelancing!
What are your thoughts on your business plan? Let me know what you think because I would love to hear them!
This summer has been all about pineapples, watermelons, and swimming patterns. I swear if I see another trendy pineapple print, I’m just going to have to go to the supermarket to satisfy my craving.
I’m loving the tiny people in the following images above. It’s just the perfect visual- a busy packed beach- to sum up the summer.
I just wish summer never had an end!
Find me on Pinterest @belindalovelee
Last week I started a series called “Freelance 101” and wrote a quick post all about ‘How to get Started’ with freelancing. Go take a read and come back here to follow the train of thought on, if you haven’t already.
So now that you’ve determined, ‘yes I do want to pursue this life of freelance’, here are some tips to get you going:
First up, let’s just tackle this monster called, money, which tends to be at the forefront of most pre-freelancer’s concerns.
Question: ”How realistic is it to make a living from freelance work? How long does it typically take to get established enough to stop working other jobs? Any tips for money- and time-saving strategies when you’re starting out?”
My journey of how I got started was probably slightly different than most people. For some reason when I took the leap I didn’t really care about money, I didn’t work a part time job (which I probably should of!) because I was broke as hell, didn’t have much of savings, living pay check to pay check and earning less than your average retail job. But for some reason I just felt I was called to focus on this lifestyle of believing and trusting that I would somehow have enough money to live- perhaps naively I believed- but somehow I did survive and made enough! Now two years in, I’m finally making a pretty steady income month to month. I definitely feel much more confident to rely on my freelance work to provide for my rent, living and life.
Realistically though, I would say stick to your part time job, don’t quit it just yet. Unless it’s really that unbearable, then quit. Nothing bugs me more than people that hate their job- because I so strongly believe that what takes up most of our lives should be an extension of what we love and enjoy. A part time job would work best, so you have a bit of steady income but also have time to work on your freelance work. Don’t quit until you have at least 6 months- 1 years worth of savings that you can live on, the more money the better obviously. But why I say 6 months is because probably for the first 2-3 months you’ll be trying to build your cliental and learn the ropes of the freelance lifestyle, most likely not making very much income. Come 6-8 months in, I believe you should be able by now to have made somewhat of an income. This is in no way tested, just my personal experience so don’t kill me if it doesn’t work out the same for you! Or if your like me, and just want to risk it all- I would highly suggest just taking the jump- quitting what you currently have, and just living life as it comes. The great thing about risking it all- is that the higher the risk the more you hustle to make it work for you instead of rely on something else to provide.
Most of time when you first start off, you’ll probably just have a handful of clients who are your friends and family and your best tool for more work will be word of mouth. Don’t be afraid to tell your previous clients to pass your contacts on. Word of mouth works wonders, but while you’re having this word of mouth work for you, get on your social media game asap. Hands down, this by far has been the biggest money saver- free marketing. Start getting to know the online community around you, post good work often, and work hard to get your name on as many blogs, websites, and platforms possible. The key is to build a good online presence so that other people that don’t even know you, will be asking to work with you!
Read More, Internet Less
I’m getting ahead of myself by talking about social media- so back onto the topic of getting from your current job to the freelance job you want to be at, below are a couple of great reads.
1. The Self Promo Handbook by Computer Arts
This magazine-book was on sell early January 2012 in the UK, so it’s a while back and I don’t know if it’s still in print, but I believe you can get it online. Essentially, it’s a great book all about social media/self promo and breaks down the steps really simply for you. Creative Bloq gives a brief summary about the book which you might be able to get something from.
2. The Overlapping Technique by Sean Wes
You can get it in podcast or book form, where Mr. Wes goes into real detail as to how he overlapped work with ‘play/passion’ to get him to where he is now- one of the world’s leading hand lettering artist. It’s real practical to digest and follow.
Though I might be speaking to those who are thinking of freelancing specifically in the areas of graphic design, I believe that any stream of freelancing has so much in common and we can definitely learn from each other in some way, weather it be a freelance makeup artist, food stylist, interior designer etc. Shout out to my girl, Emma Holmes for brainstorming and discussing some of these thoughts with me!
Next week we’ll talk about the practicals like business plans, contracts, and such!
Let me know your thoughts and what you think, feedback is always awesome. Again, I hope this was helpful!
I know I just featured that pop of pink craving last week, but honestly I just can’t seem to shake away these pink hues. This week, I’m loving this softness of this peachy light pink. Seems to have gotten the hearts of many of my clients lately too! Pink = the new black?
Pinteresting at @belindalovelee
So lately I’ve been swamped with emails about how to get started in this intimating world of freelance. I guess I’m a seasoned pro (ish) now, 2 years and running and I’d be more than happy to share my advice, and tid-bits to the ones dipping their toes into the vast seas of freelance graphic design. This is just my humble advice from what I’ve learnt so far, so freely take the parts of it that work for you and leave the ones that don’t. I’m going to try my best to somehow concessively and clearly explain it all. It’s a pretty vast topic, so here’s my attempt to!
How to Get Started
Everyone always started their emails mentioning how daunting it is to get started, and yes I’ve been there. It’s scary as hell.
First off, I’d like to say that freelancing is not for everyone. It sounds super negative, but it’s true. It may look all glamorous from the outside, but there are pretty big lows and downsides to working by yourself and I’m here to tell you both sides of the coin. Yes, you do get the freedom to work whenever you want, call your prices, find your clients with all the benefits of not having to work under anyone.
But if you can’t stand the thought of not having a steady income, or if your in it for the fame/recognition/money- I would say, it’s not the game for you. You have to love and be passionate about your craft more so than those elements because if your chasing it for the wrong reasons, chances are they probably won’t develop as quickly as you’d like before you burn out. Put wisely into words from the book Creative Inc, ”For passionate freelancers, money isn’t the only goal. It’s the happiness derived from a sense of purpose and the excitement that comes with the challenges.”
Evaluate your Motives
I’m just going to pretend that we’re face to face having a conversations, I’d probably ask you the following questions to get you thinking: Why do you want to freelance? What do you have to offer? What are you future dreams? and do you think freelancing is the best way/tool for you to get to that future dream you? Are you willing to let go of that security of 9-5?
I’d say take the jump, if your heart’s motives are in the right place, and you’re willing to risk steady income. I know a lot more comes into play and it’s easier said then done. I’ll try to cover more of the complexity of eg. saving up enough money for the beginning months of freelance etc. in the coming posts.
Curious to see how I got started? Read how I took the leap myself, here.
Read More, Internet Less
Pick up these two books, I love them and could not recommend them more. I wish I had stumbled upon them earlier in my career. They all have great advice coming from the biggest players out there.
1. 'Creative, Inc.' by Ilasco & Cho (I did a little book summary for Creative Inc. a while back if you want a quick overview, though I highly suggest you go get to book because it’s packed with tons of tips)
Let’s start with the ‘how to get started’ post as it’s getting a little longer and wordier than expected. I’ll hit up more topics in weeks to come.
Let me know what you think and if this is helpful at all! Any other questions you have on your mind? And to season freelancers any tips to suggest?
Hope this has been helpful at least a little bit, until the next post!
July, done and finished with, so here’s the usual routine monthly snippet! This month went by as quickly as it usually does and here are a couple of images that inspired me this month.
1. Nature has been blooming and this year some of the flowers are just perfection.
2. I got yet another package from a childhood friend with a Frankie Magazine in it!
3. The prettiest window in the neighbourhood.
4. I got the most gorgeous rose gold watch from Stock Watches, talk about perfect minimalism.
5. It’s the season for hydrangea and this corner is rocking it.
6. Vine’s perfectly framed.
7. It was my husband’s (kerfcollection) 22th birthday it was well spent with a weekend away in fields of wheat, knee high!
8. Blueberries, rings and bangles never looked so good.
Find me on instagram @belindalovelee
Here’s to August, 8 out of 12 months of the year already, how?
I love how neon pink, though very feminine has such a cool edge to it. That delicate yet still edgy hue definitely makes a grand appearance in the following above. These pops of pink are just werk-ing it!
It’s the fourth week of currently coveting and I’m seriously enjoying making these little mood boards, I hope you guys are enjoying it too. Mood boards are fun!
That’s so ‘pin-teresting’ lol, find me on pinterest @belindalovelee