Hey there friends! Boy, 2018 amirite? It’s been a little over a year since I decided to chase my dreams of becoming an artist and freelance graphic designer, but 2018 was my first calendar year working for myself! I was able to pull off a little higher than minimum wage ($28,000 to be exact) but I wouldn’t trade it for a second of working for someone else.
I grew up in a creative home where drawing, singing, and dancing was encouraged, and I was told my whole life my name was going to be in lights. Okay, we haven’t gotten there yet, but we are on the path right? I dropped out of community college after I realized I didn’t want to be an accountant and instead took odd jobs to pay bills.
While working as a brain-dead receptionist, I decided to take the lapse between calls and emails as a chance to learn graphic design basics and enrolled in some online classes (Skillshare is my favorite, click here for two free months on me!). After I grasped color theory and composition, it was all up to practice. A few months later, I started my official artist account and posted everything I created. From there came custom requests, cannabis product label designs, collaborations with companies like High Times, and launching my online store! It’s insane what can happen in a year, and will no doubt leave you with some lessons to share. Luckily, I’m here to share with you some of the wisdom I’ve gained from my first year of freelancing.
Anyone Can Run A Business/Chase Their Dreams
I’ll start off with the most cliché saying, anyone can quit their day job and start chasing their dreams. Here’s the other part they don’t tell you: not everyone has the willingness to chase their dreams. We all have unique circumstances in our lives that we can use as an excuse, but learning to find those workarounds give us the inspiration to start implementing changes. You are never too poor, too old, too sick, too young to do what you love. Sure, you might not get there the same way that other people have, but your journey is a part of your story. Cut the expectations that society has put on us and start finding what truly makes you happy.
Freelancing Isn’t Lonely Work
This was the biggest misconception about working from home. Of course, you lose an office full of co-workers, but I say take them! Oh, you mean I can be comfortable at my desk without having to fight over the temperature of the room or listen to my desk mate’s shitty music? The entire world opens up to you as a freelancer, everyone is a potential connection. An entire community of artists and freelancers are at your fingertips to inquire about every question you have ever had. I’ve made stronger relationships (and better friends!) networking than I have anywhere else in my adult life.
Understand Very Real Psychological Barriers
When asking folks why they won’t just take the plunge, most side-giggers say the same thing: fear. Looking back, I probably could have taken this plunge much earlier if it wasn’t for the fear of not keeping a steady paycheck or lack of motivation. It was only once I made the transition to a full-time freelancer I realized that you have to immerse yourself in the lifestyle to see if it’s for you. Your headspace, time, energy, and resources will all go to fueling your passions and there is no other way to understand this without taking the leap of faith. Even after a year in, I’ll still look back at my income at the end of a month and think, I did this? It’s amazing what happens when you choose to go after what you love.
Embrace Your Journey
Don’t be intimidated by others’ skill levels. You can learn how to do anything if you put in the time and the practice. I had never composed a hand-cut collage until six months into my new career, but I tried it and now it’s my favorite medium. Shoot, figure drawing intrigued me a few months ago, so I would doodle some and discovered it’s not for me. When you stop worrying about how much you suck in the beginning, you become way more willing to try new mediums and styles. The worst that can happen is you realize you’re just not a huge fan of certain things. The best case scenario is you love it, expand your skill set, and qualify for more types of work.
I hope some of these lessons I’ve taken from 2018 can help you on your journey in 2019. I am so excited to see what this year will hold for Savina Monet!