Is freelance graphic design for me? It’s hard to know for sure until you have actually done it but there are a few things to consider before you do. One of the big issues I hear amongst the freelance community relates to “Lonely Freelancer” syndrome.
Are you able to work for several days without seeing another person? It can and does happen. A lot of people need the buzz of an office situation and interacting with other designers to fuel their creativity and to keep motivated.
I think to be successful as a freelancer does take a good deal of self discipline and having a structured/scheduled day is a must if you are going to make it work. It’s never been a big problem for me. That’s not to say it’s all plain sailing but here are a few of my thoughts on what makes it work for me:
Start work at a set time every day. Some freelancers love the idea of getting up when they want and working the hours they choose. Doesn’t work for me. If I were to start work after 9am, I’d feel like I was playing catch up all day long. Starting before normal business hours makes me feel like I can get ahead of the game and is a golden window of relative peace which allows uninterrupted work without the phone going every five minutes.
If I feel like the ‘cabin fever’ is setting in then I know it’s time for a change of scenery. It normally happens towards the end of the week or if I’ve been working unusual/very long hours. There are a couple of easy practices I use which make a big difference:
- Go for a walk*. I’m very fortunate to be based in Church Stretton and have the Shropshire Hills on my doorstep. It’s amazing what 15 minutes in the fresh air can do… clears your mind and just to get your body moving a bit really sets you back up for work again. *No iPhone/smartphone allowed. Leave it in the office…. it CAN wait – it’s only 15 minutes!
- Change of creative direction. It probably sounds a bit strange but I find playing the guitar helps too. It’s still creative but a completely different angle to, say, designing a logo. All graphic designers can get a bit of a creative block from time to time and a change of creative focus can help break the shackles just by putting you in a different mindset.
These two simple things really work for me. It would be great to hear what works for other freelance graphic designers… what works for you?