One thing I have learnt since going freelance, is that the only way I am going to move forward and progress in my career, is to be selfish! In other words, I can’t worry about what others think of me or what I am doing. I have to pull my finger out and produce the best design, no matter how long it takes or what hours of the day I work.
If a friend approaches you asking if there is any chance you could illustrate their dog or build a mini website for my business (for £50)… say NO. This is your time, your life, your one chance to prove to the world that you are the dogs bollocks, that you can be innovative and stand out from the crowd. No one will help you apart from yourself, you are your greatest friend and biggest enemy when it comes to getting stuff done.
I can guarantee if your in my line of work or are in any way creative you will have in the back on your mind or sketchbook ’your’ perfect idea or project just sitting there waiting to be started on. Once again, this is your fault it’s not getting done! Your clients will expect you to work all hours. They will expect you to do this, it’s just life, the life of a freelancer. But, you are your own boss now, so stand up for yourself and make your ideas happen. Every great idea started somewhere and it is just the people that decided to work harder and get theirs done that are out there earning money and building their reputation.
This is the same with client work; if you have spent all hours of the night perfecting the best of designs and your client the next morning says… “nah, its just not got the bang that I wanted, it needs more colour at the top” or whatever, stand up for yourself! They are hiring you because you know what you are doing and talking about. Explain to them why your design creates the right image for them, and that the changes they want may not neccessarily have the same impact as the initial design . You are the head chef when it comes to your design so make these decisions. A head chef would not let someone who doesn’t really know what they are talking about tell them that their raspberry brûlée needed more raspberries would they! No! He would tell them to fuck off and go back to chef school.
You may at times feel down on yourself and have real low points when things just aren’t working out. These are the times you have to show your character and ride through it. Making sure you come out at the other end a better, stronger person. Take what you learn and put it to good use. Be positive about everything you create and do, even if it is the most menial of daily chores.
I’m not telling you to tell clients to fuck off, or that they are always wrong, what I am saying is you need to stand up for good design and educate your clients into learning this too. It is a part of the job that we could do without, but, it is part of the job.
So make time for your dream project and allow time to educate your clients. Only you make yourself a stronger designer / illustrator/ freelancer. Only you can tell yourself I am going to get this project of mine done and do it. So get out there pull your creative fingers out and get building.
I promise you will feel better for it.