Ready, set, whoa!

So the adventure began.

I left my job (read previous post) and decided to go freelance with 3D/Motion graphics which is what I did full-time. I also wanted to get back into more traditional art and just, I don’t know, have time for life?

When you’re employed full-time, in this industry, you go to networking events called meetups. A lot of people that go to these events are freelance. A lot of them are happy as freelancers and are always hyping up how you too should try it out.

I’m now one of those people.

BUT

Let me get something straight.

Just because you go freelance, does not automatically mean you’re going to have clients or be successful or make money. That really all comes from you.

Like I had mentioned in my previous post, I literally left at THE WORST TIME. Maybe not the worst worst but definitely the worst in regards to companies needing freelancers or having work altogether.

The first few months weren’t lucrative at all. Mainly because I was trying to figure out how the heck I was even going to manage all this. What did I just do? I just left my “secure paycheck” for this crazy no mans land. Crazy person!

Well, step by step, you figure it out.

I’m still figuring out!

Honestly, that’s part of the fun!

Every day is different. Every part of the process is a new challenge to conquer. You have no one to hide behind. No one to solve your problems for you. It’s just you and you grow immensely in a very short period of time because of this.

So I wanted to talk about 5 things that really helped me and I hope might help you too!

1. I’d like to give a HUGE shoutout to the Freelance Manifesto by Joey Korenman. Link to the book below.

The Freelance Manifesto

This book is amazingggggg. The amount of tools and resources packed in there are just insanely helpful. I owe a lot of my success to that book.

I would highly recommend reading it and taking really quality notes because they seriously help. From websites that help you reach people’s actual emails, to what you should write in your email and who’d be best to contact. This book has is all and it’s fantastic.

Also, if you’re just thinking about going freelance and not ready yet, this book will give you a lot of motivation and hope. Which is a crazy big bonus.

2. If you choose to take this leap into freelance, you MUST have a working website with a finished, polished and intriguing reel/portfolio. It is the first thing people will see and will judge you off of.

Make it memorable! People hire you for work you’ve already done. Keep that in mind when assessing the quality of your reel and whether or not it will help you land the work you’re trying to get.

3. Have a voice! Be yourself! Write emails how you talk. Write your “About Me” how you would sound. Don’t sound like a generic robot. I’m not saying you should start swearing like a sailor or something of the sort. Obviously, stay professional, but with a [Insert your name here] twist! You are one of many! So stand out by literally being yourself!

4. Go to networking events and remember your contacts. I mentioned meetups earlier and there’s a reason they are so important: there are lots of really awesome people in the industry both freelance and full-time that go. You can make a lot of really good contacts that will later call on you when they/their company needs help or recommend you to a friend who may need the same.

These are the best clients! Why? They’ve met you! They’ve talked to you! They know what you’re like and when you keep meeting them and getting to know them, they become your friends. Which in turn means you develop trust. It’s much less daunting bringing someone on to help when you know them, compared to a random online resume.

Who do people hire?

People they trust.

Also, they are an amazing way to tell people you are now freelance! Better than a random post on Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram/whatever, world of mouth is the way to go. Seriously. It’s a weirdly unknown form of getting the word out for us millennials, but that’s so wrong. Word of mouth is crazy powerful. Don’t underestimate it. Make friends. Collaborate. Spread the love. It’ll return to you.

5. Have some type of outside income or savings or something to live off of. Whatever this looks like for you, it’s a must.

Most people that will venture into the world of freelance, especially people like me that did it in a pretty risky and quick fashion, will not be the talk of the industry with phone calls and emails blowing them up. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of people and there was a lot of excitement about me switching. But..

Don’t trust all the people that tell you they’ll have work for you when you go freelance. It’s not that they won’t! They will and may or may not at all, but the issue isn’t with this. The issue is with assuming that as soon as you go freelance, they will all be ready and have work lined up for you. This is not the way the world works. It’s all about supply and demand and while they may have all of the best intentions to hire you and help you, till they have something to bring you on to help with, or someone to recommend you to that needs you, you’ve got nothing.

Therefore, you need money from somewhere/something/someone else to keep you afloat during this time.

I ended up driving for Doordash and Amazon Flex during that initial slow time. I tried Grubhub too, but that didn’t hit for me. Both companies offer quick payment, flexible schedules and ease of employment. It’s easy to sign up, you can stop whenever you want, and it’s pretty easy work. Honestly, at first, after having worked sooo much at my job, driving around, delivering stuff, chilling and listening to music, was amazing. It helped me through my hard financial times, helped my brain relax and helped me get back to feeling like myself again.

Bills don’t just go away when you decide to make a life change. Having some sort of consistency in income helps a lot.

There is a lot of moving parts and a lot of learning that you have to do when you go freelance. Whether that’s about the industry, about the level your skills are at, about what your budget/spending habits ACTUALLY look like, but mostly about who you are.

BUT!

If you’re anything like me and are looking for something beyond the mundane 9-6+, if you’re looking to experience life, grow as a person as well as a professional, and enjoy challenges, try freelance.

I hope these tips help you in your journey, as they did for me. Everyone’s situation and adventure looks different but that’s the beauty of it. The freedom to make it uniquely yours!

-V

Published by Amber Energy Arts

I am a 3D/Motion graphics Freelancer in Chicago. I am constantly creating whether that be in the computer or with my hands. I made this site to take people on the journey with me as a creative building my life in today’s world. From freelance, to building a brand through art, I’ll talk about it all here.

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