Today marks the first anniversary of me beginning my new path of working as a full-time freelancer. Crazy right? I still can't believe it's been a year already since I started on my own! This whole experience has been a wild and crazy ride for both myself and my family.
When I first announced that I was jumping into the wild ride that is freelancing full-time, I only had one potential project and no actual leads. Worst yet, I pretty much had no money in savings, and I had to liquidate a 401K to make sure I could pay rent for the month. Safe to say… I was nervous and scared.
A year ago, to this day, I posted a Dribbble shot announcing me, making this leap of faith. Within the first week of announcing my transition, I had six job offers and a third of my previous job's salary in projects signed and ready to start. A couple of months later, on my birthday, in fact, I had six months of expenses saved up and ready to go, just in case.
It was insane! I felt so lucky and grateful for everyone's help and was so very proud of all the hard work I was doing.
In those first few months, I was able to meet so many new friends and, eventually, some terrific partnerships as well.
Within the first few months, I was able to sign two retainer clients. These clients alone helped me through the massive rough patches I experience in the form of no new work coming in. Luckily, these retainers ended up lasting me nine months apiece and made the last year a huge success financially.
I did learn, though, that those retainers, while a savior during the rough patches they may have made me too comfortable. I didn't have nearly as much drive to find more and new opportunities because I had money coming in, no matter what.
Probably one of the biggest takeaways for me this year was the fact being a freelancer is more than just creating new designs or illustrations — instead of it's more about business than that.
I admit when I first started this journey, I didn't have much business experience. Because of this, I decided to spend a lot of time at first learning what I could about business and how to increase my own. But I'll share more about that in a later post.
In the end, this year of freelancing has been probably one of the best years of my life. I've grown so much as a creative and as a business person. I can only imagine what next year will be like, but I'll make sure to share what I learn with all of you.