Ups and Downs of a Freelance Designer

Working for yourself can be immensely rewarding but it's also straining on your mental state. As a freelancer you're constantly striving for consistency but IT'S HOW YOU HANDLE THE down TIMES IS WHATS GOING TO MAKE YOU STRONGER in the long run...


Within a month of each other, I had parted ways with two long-term clients. I thought that I could bounce back quickly, make some new contacts and go on to bigger and better things. I didn't think it would take me as long as it did to get back on track. I thought the work would just come knocking at the door. In hindsight, this is part-and-parcel of being a self employed freelancer (as to one employed by a recruiter). I needed to be better prepared for this type of situation, mentally and financially.

With a big chunk of my work gone I had to start building my relationships from the ground up again. I felt I was only just keeping my head above water. I had lost my confidence and I started stressing about money which led me to over-quoting jobs, which meant I missed out on jobs, which then made me worry about money again.  It was a vicious cycle...

I couldn't keep going on like this. It started affecting my home life. I became grumpy and I over analysed everything.  

Something had to be done!

I started by doing some short-term freelance gigs in design and ad agencies. I hadn't been back to an advertising agency for a couple of years so the fast pace environment was a good distraction. It also got me thinking about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be - it wasn’t in advertising…

I also started to look after myself better, physically and mentally. I got back into my daily running and took up meditating (I’ve been a little slack lately). I started feeling good again.

I know that this is how it will be as a freelancer (the ups and downs) but I had a new found confidence and started working on ways to ensure I didn’t fall as hard again. I started contacting potential clients, shared more of my work and made sure I had back up funds for any slow months. It was a slow process but I’m now in a good position. I have new clients who are awesome to work with and I’m not as grumpy anymore.

What I realised is that I can’t take anything for granted and sometimes doing something different can help you see things from a different view.