I am a designer and after working for years in advertising agencies and big companies in Brazil. I decided to take the risk and start a freelance career.
At first it was very difficult because I needed to create my name and my network. Today after 5 years, I can say that it was my best choice for me, where I grew up as professional and gained life quality that I could not have on my formally work in other companies.
Working as a freelancer is an extremely rewarding way of earning money and a living. This work format allows you to pursue your passions freely and still lets you be able to spend more time on things that matter, be it family, friends or enjoying nature. These are some of the good things about having a freelance life.
When I decided to move to another country, I could continued to work for my Brazilian clients, because one of the great advantages of working as a freelance is to be able to work remotely and wherever you prefer, whether traveling, home or even in public places when the weather is fine and you want to enjoy the sun :).
Although there are many good points in this choice, it is necessary to be aware of some important points when choosing to have a permanent life as a freelance.
Pros and Cons
As I mentioned earlier these are the main advantages of being a freelance for me:
1. Flexible hours This is the best part of being a freelance: it’s you who make your schedule.
If you get better at night and in the middle of the night, you will have every right to work in this period, not at the conventional time that serves as the standard for everyone. Also, if you have a doctor’s appointment, you need to go to the bank or some other need to comply during business hours, you do not need to ask anyone’s permission!
2. Work anywhere in the world In addition to flexible hours, you can also vary the workplaces, especially if your tool is the computer.
In my case when I decided to study in Vancouver this was the biggest advantage of my professional life, since I did not have to drop everything and start over since I can work remotely.
And the major disadvantages are:
1. Nonstop Work Unlike working in an office, you are constantly working and worse in all sectors because your business is just you.
It is an illusion to think that the freelance for doing home office works less. I for example work much more than when employed by a company. If you have a deadline, there are no weekends or holidays.
2. Risk Working as a freelancer means working with instability and insecurity. If in one month there is work, in the other there may not be work.
5 Tips for a Freelance Life
1. Value your work
The fact of starting your own work and your company does not mean that the price charged should be below the market. As much as the anxiety of closing the first contracts is large, one must always keep in mind the minimum value for each type of service and if the customer wants to close at a cost that is not feasible outside the market, do not accept it. Calculate your hours worked to reach the final price.
It is also important to value your portfolio’s appearance, the work presented and do not be late for meetings. Being well dressed for meetings gain greater credibility, even if it is mabe by Skype or Facetime, you must always be a serious professional.
2. Be organized
I think this would be one of the main characteristics to be a good freelance, as well as know how to organize the jobs you need to organize your financial life and be prepared, because one month you can earn a lot of money and in others not so much.
Take notes! As you do not have a “boss” telling you what to do it is very important to have a worksheet on Excel with the jobs deadlines and observations. So you will not be lost and you will forget any details.
3. Invoices, Quotes and Proposals
For me this was always the hardest part, I’m not a very good person with numbers, accounting and collections, but as a freelance, I had to learn a little bit of it.
At first it is always harder but over time you learn. I have a quote template that I am changing according to the clients needs. Protocole always quotes and proposals in PDF and send it by e-mail. Before sending, evaluate the values carefully so as not to lose them during work. And specify well what service will be delivered and the amount you will charge.
This article can help you with 4 Effective Strategies To Estimate Time For Your Design Projects
A safety recommendation is to charge a portion of the full amount of the service before you start work. The customer may question the right to see the work to pay. In this case, showcase your portfolio and ensure that the service will be of the same quality. Generally, I request 50% of the amount before the start and the remaining 50% after delivery, but this varies from client to client.
Invoice Like A Pro: Design Examples and Best Practices, click here and learn how to keep your clients informed of your expectations, get paid punctually and reinforce your professionalism.
4. Your clientes are your greatest reference
Most of my clients have come through referrals from former co-workers and from other clients so you should create ties with them. Even if you have done a small job for him is important to keep in touch. This is a great way to do networking and then new jobs have come out.
E-mail or call to find out how things are going and make yourself available if they have any doubt. Aside from passing credibility, you will remain remembered in the client’s mind. This greatly increases the likelihood that he will referrall you or hire for another service.
5. Learn from your mistakes
We know that at some point you can make mistakes, after all nobody is perfect, isn’t it? My biggest mistakes were wrong charges, such as not putting in the budget that images from bank images were not included. The key is to learn from these mistakes and not to commit them again. Making mistakes is not a problem, but rather repeating them. In any work our learning has to be constant.
After writing this post, I checked the internet for other freelance’s opinions and incredible as it may seem, they are very similar to mine. As for example in this post “10 Ways Freelance Life Is Different Than a Day Job” by Lindsey Kesel where she highlights practically the same experiences I wrote above.
I can conclude that the person who becomes a freelance is a restless and courageous person that accepts risks and, in my opinion, it is worth it!
To know more about my works, please check my online portfólio