Today marks 5 years of Design and Advertising for me. It’s been a long road, and a tough journey from being a absolute newbie as I started my freelance career a week after my university degree show. I can now boast a range of clients, spanning from unique, to the biggest companies in the world, and having had the incredible opportunity to freelance all over London at some of the top agencies.
When I left university, I never really thought I would have had the career I have had these past 5 years. I actually thought I would end up working in an agency, most likely starting as a junior or intern, and having to make my way up the ranks slowly. Thankfully my choice to plunge into the world of freelance with zero experience worked! I was also lucky to meet the right people at the right time, but that only came with placing myself in situations where those people could find me.
There has been a ton of ups and down along the way. Although the ups of working on big projects that are seen by millions of people are amazing, the downs are what I really needed, and most importantly, learnt from. In my first year, I took on way too much than I could chew at times, saying yes to everything and trying to figure it out along the way. Although some people say this is how to learn, don’t be silly in trying to deliver something that is way out of your league. Understand that the industry is built on reputation, especially for freelancers, so make sure you don’t burn any bridges by playing a fool.
Here are some tips I would give any designer wanting to jump into the world of freelance.
- Understand your worth! Too many freelancers actually charge way below they should do. Get online and do the research for what others in your field get paid.
- Keep on top of you finances. We’re not all business minded, but you have to stay on top of your book now you are in charge of your own money and taxes. So make it a regular thing, maybe every weekend, to go over your accounts and expenses, so you don’t have that panic rush by your end tax year.
- Be transparent/ask questions. If you don’t understand something the client is telling you, ask as many questions initially as you can. The worst thing is to say you get it and end up dropping the ball.
- Keep practising. Your freelance career can only span as far as the time your willing to grow. It’s a competitive market, so stay on top of trends when possible and keep making in your own time. Remember, your next client will hire you for your last project. So if your not where you want to be in your skillsets, you will never progress, and loose out on working with that bigger client you want, or that juicier project you’ve had your eyes on.
Looking back, I also do wonder what I would like to have changed. But for the most part, it’s missed opportunities, or wishing I had done something sooner. The biggest change I would make if I could go back, is to play more. Play more in my client work, play more in my personal projects, play more in my own life! We sometimes forget to let loose and have fun a little, a career in design for sure doesn’t have to be so serious like other jobs, you can go back to the almost childlike experience of doing and imaging whatever you want. We seem to destroy all thoughts of play the older and busier we get, but ultimately it really makes sad and miserable.
For my next 5 years, I really don’t know what to expect. I have been very lucky to hit a lot of my goals over a short period of time, but also understand that anything can be thrown at you and change your journey on the way to success. I hope for sure to collaborate with more designers, not only from London, but worldwide. That is the next step truly, to meet people from different backgrounds, from various cultures, and see what we can great together when we bring our individual inspirations and skills together.
On that note, I would love to put something out into the world, for I know doing this would make sure I act upon it. I want to write a ebook! I get asked questions constantly via Instagram, from budding designers and creatives, about how I make my work, get inspiration, find work, so on and so on. And if anything these past 5 years have taught me, it’s to always make sure to share. In all honesty, advertising can be quite self indulgent and boring. Your selling stuff for other people, often doing your best to out pitch other studios/agencies and the sense of purpose always come up when things get a bit over the top while working. Giving back, and sharing what i’ve learnt, is a gift I can give back to those young hungry designers whom I was once amongst. I will keep it short and snappy, maybe more of a guidebook, but now it’s out in the open, I hope to release it sometime in the near future.
You can have a look over my work here, and pop over to my social networks too to see what I am posting on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Oh and don’t forgot, if you like this post give it a recommendation by hitting the heart icon and give me a follow to stay up to date with future stuff. Now get out there and get creating!