In May I started a journey that I never expected to go on. Making it as a full time freelance designer is many things. It's very rewarding and very hard. It happens differently for everyone and this is how it happened to me.
I had been working as a package designer for 4 years since graduating college. I enjoyed what I was doing, sincerely. Then one day I was sick and my boss called me to tell me that our company was shutting down and moving to another state. Talk about an afternoon of reflection..and drinking. I felt the fear that I had settled in this job and now not knowing what was going to happen was something I wasn't expecting. I always assumed that leaving would be my decision.
I started going on interviews, tedious ones. I added it all up and including in office work day interviews I spent about 55 hours sitting across from people explaining why they needed me. I received several offers all with many things to consider. Its a good problem to have and I was flattered by every offer, however in the end I made the wrong decision. I chose a job based on salary and not the work I was passionate about. Listen folks, don't do this. Ever. I have watched my mom for years make 6 figures and be completely miserable. I felt like my talent was being completely wasted in this copy and paste job. I had no support from superiors and no design team. So, I did something I had never done before, with anything. I quit. Wiped it from my memory. You wont find a note about it on my resume or my LinkedIn. I left good pay, good benefits and a 401k. Sounds crazy right? Well, I have not regretted it for a single second.
Right after I quit I started getting phone calls from old clients I hadn't heard from in years. Then, from an old colleague. Then another. I started thinking maybe I can try this? Full time? Maybe I could do what my design hero's do. Maybe I could be that for someone. So, I took the couch out of my game room, set up a desk and started working. A lot.
I know people think when you work from home you have it made and I am not complaining. I get to set my own schedule, almost. I go into my clients office to meet with them and I don't have to wear a tie anymore. Most importantly I get to feel pure passion for the projects I do start to finish. Recently a package redesign I had done was even featured on The Dieline.
With successes there are also failures. Look, this is tough and I only have 90 days of experience with it. What has tough meant for me so far? Days with no sleep to meet tight deadlines, my computer crashing and losing entire projects, traveling from business to business to use their wifi because a storm knocked out mine, missing trips/family functions, and dealing with about 30 "these are the last changes I promise" emails. But you know what, its worth it. The high of building something from nothing, is worth it. I heard in a movie once that unless you have the drive to make something of your own, you will spend the rest of your life making someone else rich. I think about that every time it gets hard. All the successes, the failures, they each teach me something and I can truly say I love what I do. Can you?
Here are a few images of me, my space, my Netflix and my inspirations.