Feelings about Freelancing
“So what do you do for work” is probably one of the least favorite questions I get from people at this point in my life. I’m proud of the work that I am doing, but my response is one that usually gets silent judgement because it’s different than what the cookie-cutter college grad society produces. I am a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, hand letterer, an event production artist, and a retail associate with the dream of becoming a full time travel blogger/photographer and digital nomad. Yes, it’s a mouth full, but I’m pursuing jobs that I genuinely love and I wouldn’t trade any of them in for that traditional 9-5 routine or lifestyle.
Even though my grocery list of employment makes it seem like I have no freedom whatsoever, in reality it is the opposite, I have all the freedom in the world! Most of my work falls under the umbrella of freelance designer and creative, which is a job I can do from anywhere in the world as long as I have internet connection. And my part time job as a retail associate is what I do for fun, at a store I love, and it’s something that takes me away from the computer screen so that I can socialize.
My brain is wired to work, and to keep pushing myself to be better. Even when I don’t have paid work, my mind is always busy. I enjoy creating designs to keep my skills top notch, learning how to hand letter new fonts, and I’m writing pieces for my blog and other big names like Student Universe and We Are Travel Girls! Working multiple, remote jobs on a part time basis allows me time to dedicate to my blog and instagram. I have the freedom to travel whenever, wherever, as long as my bank account can support it. I can go home for a long weekend or a month if I want to or I can plan a vacation and leave tomorrow (hypothetically). Having this flexibility keeps me motivated to find more clients and further monetize my ability to work from the comfort of my own home.
This ideal was instilled in me at a young age. Watching both of my parents run their own companies, they were able to take long weekends, go on more than one family vacation a year, and spend 3 long weeks at our beach house every summer, something for which I am forever grateful. I knew from a young age that I wanted this life, this flexibility, but I also knew the hard work, sacrifices, and dedication that it would take to create this lifestyle. I witnessed it first hand at age 6, when my mom started her first company and again at 16 when my mom started her second, independently run company.
At the time, I didn’t realize how important and influential it was to have a female creative, bad ass, entrepreneur as a mom, instead I was more upset when she couldn’t attend a field trip because she was filming a commercial for FURBIES or meeting Destiny’s Child (like how ridiculous am I???). In the grand scheme of things, one field trip to the Franklin Mineral Mines would not provide the amount of knowledge and motivation that my mom instilled in by showing me not only how to be a successful business woman, but also achieving that success in a creative field.
It’s definitely not the easiest route by any means, but for me, I think it will be the most rewarding route. There are still days where my head is filled with doubt (especially days when I check my bank account) and in a panic, I apply to about 10 corporate jobs in an attempt to obtain the security of a full time position. Then there are the days where it’s especially hard to be around my friends living that 9-5 corporate life, enjoying their steady paychecks, while I experience a pang of jealousy as I wonder if I’m missing out on the corporate office experience.
There are days when freelancing is amazing. When the weather is nice and I can do my work sitting in a park enjoying the sun. When I can work on a passion project and know that it is still considered valuable portfolio work that can get me more clients. I don’t need to worry about PTO, or sick days, or coworker drama. I can even workout and go to the gym and have it not be swarmed with people on their way home from the office (big bonus for me, i hate working out with other people around!!!).
But the truth is freelancing is hard, I always feel the pressure to be doing work, even on the weekends. The income isn’t a steady stream either, but it’s a challenge that my brain loves. I am always on my toes for any networking opportunity, because you never know who your next client is going to be. I’ve learned that I need to be bold and shameless to get a potential client's attention. I recently put PHOTOS of MYSELF on a cover letter to get noticed at a large company, and let me tell you — IT WORKED. As a self proclaimed introvert and shy person, I am forced out of my comfort zone almost every single day in this life of freelancing, but it’s all preparing me for a successful future as a business owner and embracing a digital nomad lifestyle.