I can proudly say that I have been a Graphic Designer and Photographer, professionally, for the past five years. I’ve become more skilled than I thought I would be. I have clients from the States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, and Namibia, to mention a few. You can only imagine all the drama I’ve been through in the five years; from not meeting a deadline to clients wanting to pay in “exposure”. And since my 8 to 5 is as a designer as well, I do my freelance work after hours. Yeah, it’s hectic, but this economy won’t allow us to sleep.
Based on my few years’ experience and the pace I am still growing at, I want to share a few tips on how I cope and the safety measures you should take to protect and secure your work and coins.
That’s all I need to say!!!
It’s a tedious process, but it will save you so much distress. Get a Lawyer or HR manager to assist you in drawing up client contracts. Make sure to clearly state the process of work as well deposits and payment procedures.
Again yes, it might be a lot to keep up with and you might think: “My clients will be annoyed with all the procedures.” But not only will it secure your job and money, it’s also a more professional way of handling your business. Most importantly, it leaves your clients at ease knowing that you take your work seriously and that you show a way more professional demeanour in handling things than most freelancers do.
Side Note: One thing I’ve realised about clients in Namibia: they do not know how much work goes into designing and photography. I’ve watched others in the trade, including my best friend, one of Namibia’s most recognised fashion designers, spent countless sleepless nights on work. But once the client receives the bill its: “Wow! You’re way to expensive.” Or “I could have found someone cheaper.”
Work flow and load
I know the economy is bad and we need to do a lot to make our zak, but yoh! Don’t over-promise. As freelancers we need to keep a standard so that Facebook warriors don’t keep dragging us! Try to limit yourself, recognise your abilities and work accordingly and with standards.
Invest! Invest! Invest! Get all the equipment you need, it’s very important to be properly prepared, people do rent out stuff, but that is counterproductive if you’re trying to make a few bucks.
Make sure that when you buy some equipment, that it would be able to pay itself off, In other words make sure that the Mac you’re buying will do adequate work, so that the revenue you make from work done it will be the payment for it.
Your social interactions with your clients is so vital! Marketing yourself for freelance gigs is most effective through word of mouth.
As much as people have screwed you over, try to stay off of social media with your commentary, I’ve learned the hard way. Don’t bash your client, at least not publicly. Be professional, pop them a mail and take it from there. Don’t burn your bridges.
Dogs are vicious! Learn to fetch!
You need to learn new tricks at all times. Go for workshops! Set time aside for tutorials! Shadow other established freelancers and keep learning. Or you‘ll be left behind!
There are old dogs that do not have time for you and will not have your back, suck it up and keep pushing.
Try to be the best and keep at your standard! Just try to stay true to your art! Be respectable and stay true to your word, but most of all enjoy your journey as a freelancer and build passion for things that relate to your freelancing that would build on your career!
Just a note though: This is based on personal experience and there is so much more that can be tackled in this topic, maybe it’s a column for another day.
And once you fall, really just cmd/ctrl + N and start a new!