It’s been about 7 months since I went freelance. 7 months! I decided enough was enough, packed my job in and entered the world of self employed in a bid to earn myself enough money to survive. Hows it going I hear you ask! (Well, I’m imagining you do…).
To be honest, freelance life isn’t as easy as I thought. I pictured myself in coffee shops sipping latte’s (I don’t even like coffee) and eating cake while being inundated with flowery work that would allow me to travel the world. The reality is I’ve been to a coffee shop about 4 times in 7 months, and the work is definitely less than flowery. My income is approximately 1/3 of what I used to earn when in a full time job. As for a working environment, it can get a little bit lonely sat in your spare room with just a Mac and Spotify for company, and I now have to pay for my own tea bags. I rely heavily on my partner at the moment too for financial stability and in that respect I’m very lucky.
With all of this in mind, it’s worth asking the question – do you regret it?
Not. One. Tiny. Little. Bit.
It is honestly the best decision I’ve ever made, for so many different reasons. First, I’ll give you an insight:
I’m a freelance graphic designer, and have been in the industry for around 10 years now. When I got my first graphic design job I was happy, confident and ready to take on the world. I was career driven, ambitious and confident, knowing exactly what I wanted to achieve and where I wanted to be. Over time, my role in the business grew from a junior graphic designer to a design business manager, second in line to the MD, working for multibillion dollar companies around the world, earning money I never thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a millionaire, but for a young lad from a council estate in the north, earning £40k+ before I was 25 I felt like I was. I had a nice car, I’d just met my girlfriend and things were going quiet well, albeit materialistically.
Inside my head though, I was crumbling. The pressures of the corporate world, 60 hour working weeks and stress I’d never felt before began to take it’s toll and as has been well documented on here, mentally I broke down. It would be the start of 6 years of what I knew to be hell, and suddenly all of the nice things didn’t matter any more.
Finally, enough was enough and I decided I would hand in my notice and make a go of it myself. Materialistically I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be – money is tight and there is always a worry I’m not going to make enough to pay my bills. However, mentally, I’m absolutely smashing it.
Since leaving 7 months ago, I’ve done things I never thought possible. We’re going through IVF which I now find much easier, I’m able to face fears I never thought I could, I don’t have constant sickness like I used to, I actually attended a networking event with a room of strangers and actually enjoyed it while gaining some useful contacts. I even, EVEN managed a best mans speech last week which, 9 months ago, I was close to backing out of because I couldn’t even comprehend doing it. It’s amazing to finally know what the problem was, and where changes needed to be made. I only wish I’d made them sooner.
Work-wise, for the first time in years I’m proud. I’m proud of what I’m producing. I’ve begun selling digital prints online (Hope and Heal on Etsy if you’re interested…), I’m currently designing greeting cards to sell wholesale, and my client base is slowly growing allowing me to produce work I’m passionate about. It feels good, really good, to finally appreciate that I do in fact love what I do.
I won’t ramble on much longer, and I’ll finish by saying is this:
Going freelance means I have less money, less social interaction and added pressure of trying to earn money from nothing.
Going freelance also means I’m mentally clear, more at peace and feel stronger than I ever have before. I’m so excited for the next chapter because so far, I feel epic.
Shameless final plug, if you need a freelance graphic designer for your business, or looking for a digital print with an inspirational message, hollah!