7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Freelancing
It's been almost two years since I quit my full-time job and started freelancing as a graphic designer. I didn't have a graphic design degree under my belt, but had tons of work experience at a small jewelry company where I was the social media coordinator & graphic designer. I realized that graphics were quickly becoming my favorite part of the day and wanted to do that instead of social media management.
I credit the success of Reux Design Co. thus far, to the fact that I didn't think about it too much at the beginning. I just jumped and ran with it. Looking back, if I had spent more time analyzing my budget, thinking about marketing calendars and business plans, that probably would have scared me into staying at my full-time, STEADY, job.
However, now 2 years into it, I've learned a lot. And there are definitely a few things that I wish I would have thought about or prepared for in the beginning months as a freelancer.
I know that not everyone is ready to make that leap without some more info, or an idea of what they're getting into. So if you're currently dreaming of freelancing, starting your own business or pursuing a passion project, I'm here with some advice. Here are 7 things I wish I would have known before I started freelancing.
Freelancing is such an amazing experience, but it's not without it's own set of challenges and trials. Going into it, knowing these 7 things can help you transition seamlessly and with as little stress as possible. Make sure to watch the video for the full breakdown, but here's the short version.
01. SET A CONSISTENT INCOME
The scariest part of freelancing is not being able to pay your bills (for most of us). So early on, figure out how much $ you need each month, divide into 2 and pay yourself that way. Having a separate bank account for your business will help.
02. SEEK OUT MENTORS TO HELP YOU
Myth: people are mean and won't tell you any industry secrets. Fact: MOST people are so happy to share, listen and help a fellow creative! Reach out and ask for advice and tips. You never know when you'll find the perfect mentor.
03. DON'T SPEND MONEY ON FANCY TOOLS / SOFTWARE
You don't need them, really. Stick with the free options for now (PayPal, ToDoist, Asana, etc.) You can reevaluate in a few months (when you're consistently making money) to see if upgrading to the paid tool is worth it for you.
04. FIGURE OUT THE LEGAL STUFF NOW
Do a quick Google search to figure out if you need a business permit in your state/county. Register for a DBA or set up your company as an LLC. Get a separate business bank account. This is the least fun, but make it easy on your future self (and taxes!)
05. YOU WON'T LOVE EVERY PROJECT
Sometimes a client just won't be happy. You might not love the result of your project or you and the client don't click like you had hoped. It's fine! Stay respectful and kind, and move on when it's over.
06. CREATE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Don't spend the first year fumbling through your business. It's a great way to upset or lose clients/customers. Create streamlined systems so you know how to easily onboard clients, shop packages, send mockups, etc.
07. MAKE TIME TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Honestly, freelancing / working from home can be lonely. It's something I've talked about with every. single. one. of my freelancing friends. It can make you crazy! So you have to make time to go outside, meet people for coffee, network at events, and have friend time. Trust me.
Those are my top tips! You can also read all about how I started my freelancing journey here as well as some other tips I have for taking your creative business full time. I hope these videos / posts can help you if you're just starting your journey as a freelancer or small business owner!
If you're freelancing, what tips do you have for others? What have been the best and hardest parts of your business journey so far?