Today marks my one year anniversary working with MartianCraft, a 100% remote workplace that’s a recognized influencer in the world of mobile & desktop application design, development, staff, and training. I’ve been an independent designer since Sept 2014, which puts me at this for a year and a half. I wanted to share how I got started, and how you can launch yourself into a new adventure.
Why become an independent designer?
There are many reasons why people want to be their own boss, work on their ideas, or have the freedom to choose their clients. For me, it started as a daydream and became a reality.
I’ve been working in design for the last ten years in New York City, and I felt bored and unfulfilled with the projects at my full-time job. I craved variety, challenge and working with people that tirelessly strive to perfect their craft. Day-to-day tasks became mundane, and I daydreamed about the freedoms from not being at an office doing projects that I couldn’t put in my portfolio.
I never freelanced full time before, I didn’t know how it’s going to be, or even how it’ll work. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and I’m scared.
All I told myself was “just give it a try.” If I don’t try, I’ll never know. If I don’t even attempt, I fail automatically. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Get another full-time job? That doesn’t sound all that bad.
Simply put. I became an independent designer to seek the opportunity to be happy and proud of my design work. I want the validation of being an excellent designer, and becoming ♪ better ♫ faster ♪ stronger ♬.
Three things you’ll need
You probably should save money because usually it takes six months to get the ball rolling on projects and be comfortable with the routines of sales, design, and payments. Saving money to do something uncomfortable takes a lot of discipline. It’s much easier to save money to go on a vacation or buy something nice for yourself. The drive and discipline of investing in your goal will set you apart from everyone else. Becoming an independent means that you don’t have a steady paycheck every month, make sure you buffer and make changes in your lifestyle because you will encounter non-payment or late paying clients.
Don’t read too many articles on Medium or lists about what you should be doing. The more you read, the more you can get overwhelmed. Reading is not acting. Create a plan of what you need to do every day and hold yourself accountable (I don’t sleep until it’s done). Write a list of things you have to do a day and accomplish them all. Let small tasks snowball into big accomplishments.
When I first started freelancing, I created this in my google calendar. I only allowed client phone calls at a particular time of the day, so that I could have blocks of focused, uninterrupted time to work on projects. Needless to say, I kept to this calendar for a good eight months before I didn’t need these reminders. It became a routine that I break often.
My friend said I forgot to block out poop breaks. Obviously, I don’t poop or sleep.
If I could sum up one word to becoming a success in anything, it will be resilience. Develop and hone your personal Titanium Level Resilience.
Increase your capacity for making realistic plans and carry them out.
Have a positive view and confidence in yourself in your abilities.
Improve your skill set in problem-solving and communication.
Management of your own personal voice, feeling, and impulses.
Develop the ability to service clients by providing accurate timelines. Be able to communicate effectively, and make the client feel happy and confident with the work performed. Sell and guide clients through the weeds of a project are all important management skills displaying resilience. Being your own boss is tough, and having confidence in your own abilities will help you win clients.