Taking the Leap to Freelance
No, that’s not my office. That’s the office across from mine; one which I technically don’t pay for and which I share with two other individuals. But I have a desk space, and I get the same view. And its the best view I’ve ever seen, hands down. Here’s why.
If you told me six months ago that I would be working for myself, pounding the pavement trying to drum up clients, learning how to register an LLC and run a business, I wouldn’t have believed you. Six months ago, my mindset hadn’t shifted enough yet into believing I could take the leap. Not only did it take time, but more so, it took a number of little events that inched me bit by bit towards the belief that I could go it alone…and make it. One of those moments was a book my girlfriend handed me while in a bookstore in Seattle called “When to Jump” by Mike Lewis. It profiled a number of individuals who were in a similar position as I was: they had security with their current job, but kept feeling the call to do something else, even if the prospect of doing so was scary and uncertain. It was just the book I needed to read at just the right time.
At this point in my career, I have close to 8 years experience working as a graphic designer and art director. When I got my first design job out of college, I was terrified. I felt as if I had no idea what I was doing, and no clue if what I was making was even any good. But after a while, the things I made started to look like what I had envisioned. I began to realize I was talented at crafting brand identities, and the other things I was picking up. Fast forward to six months ago, and I was working at a big marketing agency where I’d been for nearly 3 years. My concepts were winning to the point where clients would ask for me specifically to be on their projects because they wanted my skill and expertise. I saw how much time was being spent with projects passing through multiple hands through multiple levels of management all to give approval on one concept. I realized I could provide the same level of quality work to clients for a fraction of the time and cost. That was the final tipping point for me. I decided to take the leap.
This isn’t to say I can’t see myself working for another agency at some point in the future. I know there are agencies out there whose goals and passion for design mirror my own. But I also don’t want to wait around for the stars to align. I’ve got a lot of learning and growing to do, and a lot of potential clients out there who need my help. It’s been three weeks now, and steady work is far from being a sure thing. I know these next few months are going to be scary at times. I’m doing this for the first time, so I’m gonna make some mistakes along the way (and hopefully learn from them). Nothing is guaranteed. But that view? That’s mine and no one else’s. Whether this leap will succeed or fail is all up to me. I can’t wait to see what happens.