First 5 Months of Freelance
I just calculated today, it’s been 5 months since I left the corporate world. I’m committed to this journey but there certainly are comforts I miss about my prior story.
“Pressure Creates Diamonds. Fire Refines Gold”
Here are some projects I’ve worked on and what I’ve learned through out the process:
April—Month 01: The first month was a slow, catching up with old freelance clients, having time to spend with friends, catching up on health issues and took in lots of local events.
Learned: I got really excited about a former project and poured 85 hours worth of my time into this gig. And did not get compensated for it. It was a huge ego blow but I knew it was pointing me in the right direction. In this journey I have agreed to let things go easily, and move onto the next for each step of the way has a purpose. I try not to resist the things that come into or leave my path. My ego hates this game but my spirit knows, it’s really the only way to live and be happy.
MAY—Month 02: Took on my first social media management client. Took on an investment trade for branding and packaging work for exchange for 10% of the company. Shot photos for the Epy Pilates website. Hosted a blogger closet sale with Libier. Launch my styled stock photography shop. Was featured on Who What Wear! Executed my first 2 paid on location shoots for local small business’. + Josiah graduates college!
Feeling: I’ll admit I woke up feeling nausea for the first few weeks, scared, questioning why I left. I had to learn to trust the process of my life. I had to give up control, I had to learn to love the unknown. And trust that good things are coming my way. (side note: I’m still working on this every single day)
JUNE—Month 03: Create a brand for a local delivery service. Shot a video for Maybelline. Traveled to Bogle winery for their media night, video here. Begin mentoring Rhema, our new copywriter. Take on 2nd part-time client, Now Pow in Chicago! Collaborate with Coffee Mate.
Learned: not everyday is going to have billable work. Sometimes you’re laying the ground work for new projects, taking on meetings, creating quotes for projects that never take off, doing tasks that may lead to more business; blog + social media posts, portfolio updates, etc. I had to learn to not judge myself for not producing every single day.
JULY—Month 04: Collaborate with a designer and hairstylist to shoot her website photos. First freelance product photography shoot for LEVEL smart glasses. Lead my first social media training on site for a small business. Josiah quits AT&T and joins me in the freelance life ! ! Re-design our business website, Common Space Sacramento. Anyone who has tried to re-design their own company website amongst fulfilling client needs, knows this is a huge undertaking! Tour 3 potential buildings to move our creative workspace too. And the BIG BIG project of this month was entering the Creative Economy Pilot Project. It’s a huge grant for $25k, launching small business’ in Sacramento. See our submission video here!
Learned: some very tough lessons this month about boundaries and discernment. I had to learn the importance of working with people who are worthy of your time. I know it sounds backwards, I’m grateful for client work, but you do have to way at what cost to your mental health. I was taken down a dark path by my desire to fulfill requests and keep happiness up, where it just wore down so far physically and mentally. I had to agree to end things, walk away from a lot of money, in order to keep my well being. I had to say no to more work over the phone which was so hard because it seems counter intuitive. But it was a big lesson in following your heart over your mind.
AUGUST—Month 05: Conducted my first corporate retail lifestyle shoot as first camera with 5 models. Purchased a 100mm lens / F2.8 (we loooove it!) Begin a new design adventure for a tea company (more on that soon!). Design a logo for Ruthie Ridley! Create a campaign with Almay mascara.
Learned: that giving discounts only screws you over in the long run. Had to start stepping out of my inner world to better communicate with Josiah about delegating projects, tasks timelines and deliverables.
*Hopefully this doesn’t sound too braggy—I just want to be able to look back a year from now and see what types of projects I was working on and how it shaped me as an individual and business owner. I’m currently still juggling being a graphic designer, photographer, blogger and studio owner. Each day is leading me closer to a destination and I’m beyond curious to see what this refinement stage will hold for me.
Going freelance is definitely one of the scariest things I’ve done. The craziest part was waking up two months into the game and realizing the 2 consistent clients I left my job for had their budget cut back to zero. So I had to let go again, right after letting go of a structured safe life.
I would say, the number one difference is that I feel on a deeper level. I am able to feel the depths of sadness and the heights of happiness. When something negative happens it hits me a lot harder and when something turns out amazing, I find myself dancing around. I would much rather feel than be in a robotic state .
I’m going to try and make this a monthly series! Any ideas on what you’d like to hear? (tips, budgeting, mindset, time management, etc)
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