Recently at SOCO (the Cowork we spend our days at), we held a discussion during which our panelists got real about their experiences in freelancing. We followed up by asking them each to give us just one key point that sums up their best advice for new or aspiring freelancers. Here’s what they said:
“The challenges I’ve faced and the tips I can offer are one and the same: plan it out, connect with others, stay involved, show up and work, do what you say you will.”
— Joseph Lemmons // @joslemmons
“If you’re afraid to set out on your own, first figure out what your worst case scenario will look like if things don’t go well. If you’re willing to put up with what that looks like in order to pursue your freelancing goals, then you’ve got what it takes.”
— Chris Neiger // @cdnieger
“It’s easy to work non-stop because your livelihood depends on it, but if you burn yourself out you’ll be useless to your clients. Get enough sleep, hang out with your family and friends, exercise, read, cook – make time to do the things that keep you mentally and physically healthy.”
— Shannon Franklin // @shannefranklin
“There are only two things you need to be a successful freelancer:
1. Do great work. Anyone can do great work as long as they put in the time and are constantly looking for ways to get better.
2. Don’t be a dick. This one is even more important than doing great work, because if you do incredible work but you’re a dick no one will want to work with you.
*Bonus: Overcommunicate. Think about how much you need to communicate to your client and then do twice that.”
— Andrew Askins // @AndrewAskins
“Find a niche market for your skills. Deciding who you want to work with and what types of projects keep you hyped will help tailor your business to a specific market and cut down on ‘don’t-want-to’ or ‘have-to’ projects.”
— Carmen Hartsfield // @CarmenDsgndThat
Our panelists also each shared a favorite book that’s helped in their freelance journeys:
Do the Work – Steven Pressfield
The E-Myth Series – Michael E. Gerber (multiple books)
Rework – Jason Fried
Turning Pro – Steven Pressfield
Design is a Job – Mike Monteiro
The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing: How to Win Clients and What to Charge Them – Ilise Benun
F*ck You, Pay Me – Mike Monteiro (video)
We thought you guys would get some use out of these great quotes and good book links. Here’s to a great 2016 to all you Freelancers and small design shops in the world!