One question people ask me most frequently upon learning that I’m a freelancer is what I find most challenging about it.
Most people expect me to say: It’s so difficult working from home, and I find myself drawn to the bed/sofa/television/internet.
This is probably because most freelancers they see or know of work at a rented desk or in Starbucks (probably the most cliché freelance workplace).
This could be why, then, they raise their eyebrows when I say that the most difficult thing about freelancing is finding clients. I don’t really understand why they’re surprised though, but could I be one of the few freelancers who have difficulty in this?
Let’s just talk about my particular situation. Why do I find it difficult? You might agree with some of these points, in which case, I welcome your tips on overcoming the challenges below.
As with most success stories, I know these things take time. Already, I have ex-clients come back to me for little things here and there, and that’s already better than a year ago.
It remains difficult to be a freelancer in my situation, but I’m learning to accept that patience is key. And perseverance.
I’ve been busy illustrating in the past few days. I find that I enjoy it a lot more than I do designing, I guess because I draw for myself and not for a client. Now if only I could get my drawings to support me financially, I could have more of a reason to spend most of my time drawing instead of creating logos ;)
Anyway, besides my Vintage Camera series - which, incidentally, you can now purchase as pillows here - I’m actually usually occupied with making cards for people, especially for my good friend at Twinkle Cakes.
So here are a couple cards that I’ve recently created. Unfortunately, if you don’t know Dutch, they won’t say much to you, but I’ll caption the images.
Cheers on your age and that you remain healthy and happy. A toast to your health and wishing you a very good day!
I created this for the Studio Zi collective I belong to. I like it (duh!) but seems it’s not commercial enough. Anyway, if you’re not into commercial greeting cards, feel free to order it here for 3 euros.
Travelled through a wonderful life together for 40 years.
I was commissioned this illustration to celebrate an awesome anniversary of 40 years. The couple loves travelling, hence the air balloon and the wording of the message. I actually added little clouds at the last minute, but I was lazy to take another photo (hehe).
Since I spent so much time creating this, and because I like the air balloon idea, I thought I’d also sell this with the number being customisable to any other 2-digit number. You can therefore customise it here for 5 euros.
Or if you just like the travelling theme, I have an English version for sale using the famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost” as a pillow (and art print as well).
Well, that’s it for now, have a great week!
When I first read the title, I thought, why do I need to know this? I know how how we designers (in general) think and how to talk to them, but I persevered. And it turned out to be a pretty interesting article on how other people talk and how to understand them. Also it gives an insight into how we designers think. Read it, it’s pretty eye-opening.
I just sold another print of Vintage Camera 1.1 to a buyer in South Korea. This internet shopping thing is so incredible, making it possible for my illustrations to be literally all over the world - so far, they’ve travelled to Sweden, England and now South Korea.
The world is quite simply your marketplace. But the thing is, it’s also everyone else’s marketplace. You can no longer rely on having a fixed location and having someone wander in because they see something pretty in the window. Now, it’s really up to you to push yourself to be everywhere. You have to put yourself on every suitable platform - mind you, not all - in order to reach your best potential. But it’s not easy to know where’s best.
From my experience, just have one shop. And perhaps one Etsy shop as well. Although after having listed my items on Etsy for a month now, I don’t find it particularly effective. Sure, I get more visitors than on my standalone shop, but I have gotten less buyers. Exposure doesn’t equal revenue. I even tried ads on Etsy because they’re pretty affordable. But after advertising for two weeks, I have nothing to show for it except € 1,20 less in my Paypal account.
If you want to sell your own products, my advice (based on experience) is to have one shop and then go out there and talk about it as much as possible on any suitable social network. And there are a lot more networks than Facebook and Twitter. In fact, those are pretty useless for these kinds of things, because those are only people you know and who know you. And as researchers have discovered, these people are actually less helpful to your business than the people in your outer circle and beyond. Try being part of a community of like-minded strangers like Google Plus, or be active on social apps like Fojo, an app where you can snap a photo daily based on a suggested theme.
My shop is far from being able to support me financially, but I derive pleasure from knowing people love my work enough to part with their hard-earned cash. And to me, that’s worth more than the money itself.
ps. I can only say that last line with conviction because I’m not starving and homeless. Otherwise, I would say every time, food trumps admiration.