Freelance Files | Step One - Be Smart.

step one

My hops is that “Before Step One” was helpful. Now on to the nitty-gritty.

In full disclosure, I don't consider myself at the point where I'm freelancing full-time yet.

To give context: I blindly and incredibly optimistically started freelancing five years ago. Like everyone on Instagram can make living and totally support themselves off of wedding invitations, right? Two years ago I went through a turned-thirty-crisis, decided to teach school in Kentucky. Decided that was NOT for me and moved back to Peoria, Illinois where I went back to freelancing. Unsure of what that would hold or if I would stay in Illinois, I took at part-time position at the non-profit that brought me here after college where I currently still do marketing. This kept me afloat in the beginning. Now the majority of my income comes from freelance work and I hope that the needle keeps inching forward towards dropping my part-time marketing work completely.

A few months ago, I shared "Why Graphic Design." Though, I think my thoughts are even more fleshed out now, it's still relevant and a good place to start if you haven't already ready it.

Back to what you really want to know: how do I start a freelance graphic design business?

My #1 rule of advice is: be smart; don't be dumb. I know I could have thought through things more clearly.

Do the research. Ask all the questions you can from all the people you know. Including strangers on the internet. Remember that emails are free and it doesn't hurt to reach out. Don't be discouraged if not everyone replies.

While you're emailing strangers start reading books. They will serve you AND your potential clients well. These are a few of my favorites:

Building A Story Brand. Everything you'll ever need to know about marketing is here.

Profit First. It's only been in the last three months that I've implemented this, but there's already been major pay off. This is what I use to organize my finances. I started viewing my work as an expense. I pay myself twice a month. This prevents over spending in the good months and feeling poor during bad ones.

How to Write Copy that Sells. I never realized how important words are in marketing. If you don't have time to read the book, at least listen to this podcast.

Also, Seth Godin's blog is helpful when considering big picture philosophy of starting a creative business. His thoughts on building a minimum viable audience are particularly thought-provoking.

...I will call this phase 1 of research. Next time we'll talk numbers specifically.

Cheers until then! Leave any questions you have in the comments.