Recently someone in one of my networks asked for tips about freelancing. I wrote her an email with my top tips, and I thought I’d share a more general version on here – this could be useful for people who are considering freelancing for the first time.
I freelanced straight out of uni because junior service design roles were few and far between back then. Even during more normal jobs or contracts, I’ve almost always continued to freelance. I graduated in 2012, so that’s about three and a half years, on and off.
So here are my tips on joys to make the most of, getting clients, how much work to take on, dealing with expenses, dealing with possible problems and how to be a ‘good freelancer’. Enjoy! Continue reading
At the end of the year, a work contract came to an end, and I decided to focus on connecting with myself creatively for three months, rather than desperately seeking other work.
Work will come
Work has started to come to me more easily as a contractor and freelancer. I put this down to the huge amount of groundwork I did over the summer and autumn last year, and the fact that service design is becoming more popular as a sensible way of developing services. It helps that I have unusual work experiences – not all that many people have been involved in implementing design strategies for cultural change in government.
Just before Christmas I got a couple of contract offers which would start in the spring (one of which I have now taken up). I decided to not look for any work until then, and focus on developing myself creatively. I turned down all work offers except for a couple of small enjoyable freelance projects. Continue reading
If you’re looking for inspiration, watch this speech by Neil Gaiman for 2012 graduates
. It’s about working as an artist (of any kind). It’s hopeful, and makes you feel like it’s ok to break rules.
A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.
…I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.