Being a Freelance Designer

As a Freelance Graphic Designer, there are 3 questions I am asked a lot:

1. It must be fantastic working from home?

2. How do you keep yourself motivated?

3. Is it lonely, working on your own?

Today I am going to answer all 3 of these questions and hopefully give you a little bit of insight to what’s going on behind the scenes.

The answer to the first question is easy. Yes, it’s bloody fantastic!

And not just because my commute is 5 seconds long, that I can wear my pjs to work if I want (I haven’t….yet), or that I can play the music I want (at the volume I want) or that there is a cat on my lap and a dog by my feet. All those things are wonderful…but what really makes working from home such a joy is the fact that I am so much more productive!

When I worked as an in-house designer it was mostly heads down, bums up trying to meet deadlines and get on top of the workload. But every now and again there would be a lull (whether we were waiting for feedback from clients or for files to download or software to install or sometimes just because we’d finally got on top of the to-do list) at which point I would twiddle my fingers, make a cup of tea, browse the internet and wait for the things to get hectic again.

Working from home, that is no longer the case. Now when these lulls occur I hang out the washing, stack the dishwasher, walk the dog. Which means that most days my hubby comes home to a clean tidy house (if he’s lucky, something yummy in the slow cooker) and we can get on with enjoying our free time together. It also means that the weekends are ours again! To head to the beach or spend time with friends…without feeling guilty about the piles of washing waiting for us back at home.

Of course there are still times when it’s heads down, bums up and working from home does mean that it’s sometimes hard to know when to ‘leave’ work. 12-15 hour days are not unusual not to mention a cheeky wee hour or two on the weekend. But what always gets me through the busy times is knowing that when the next lull comes I can take a day or two off and head down South with my boys, knowing that I’ve well and truly earned it.

Now to question 2 - How do I keep myself motivated?

And the answer to that is: I don’t, my clients do.

It’s hard not to be motivated when you are juggling multiple jobs and deadlines for several different clients. I cannot afford to drop any of the balls. Plus there is invoicing to be done, files to be archived, software to be updated…

Luckily for me it is a challenge I relish. Even now, 11 years in the industry I still get a buzz from successfully managing multiple tasks and meeting my clients’ expectations. There is truly nothing better than receiving positive feedback about the work and services you provide. So keep it coming!

Another great motivation when working from home is having a designated working space, separate to the living area. When I first set up my business my number one priority was to create a funky and inspiring studio space, with the best of equipment and a comfy, ergonomic chair! Even though it is just 5 seconds from the living room, when I step into GGDS Headquarters I am in work mode and I stay that way until I close the door on the studio at the end of the day.

Which that leads to question 3 - Is it lonely, working on your own?

And the answer to that is: I am not on my own!

In fact some days it feels like all I’ve done is talk and it’s quite nice to have some quiet time to get some design work done. And I am not just talking to my furry colleagues (although Douglas and I do enjoy a good gossip by the water cooler) but also my suppliers and most of all my clients.

I spend 1-2 hours every day communicating with my clients. Whether it’s by phone, by email or in person. Good communication is key to creating effective graphic design and in my opinion such an important part of running a business, of any size, successfully.

So, to summarise, working as a Freelance Designer has it’s stresses and difficulties (just as any job does) but without a doubt the positives outweigh the negatives and I still think I have one of the best jobs in the world.