today we answer the question: “what made you go freelance?”

i still have my day job as a graphic designer but i freelance after i go home. it’s a lot of work and sometimes a struggle, but i love it. a couple years ago i realized i wanted to illustrate more and i wasn’t satisfied with the amount i was getting at my day job. i started illustrating objects and fun things that were happening in my life on my blog. that caught the eye of a woman who asked me to design some social stationery for her. then it caught the eye of a lady in australia who was starting a business and needed a logo. the blog really helped get me more exposure.

in the beginning i was reaching out and proposing ideas to people. now thanks to word of mouth and the internet people are coming to me. i love working in the fashion world during the day and then getting to work on something totally different on my own time and be my own boss. since i do have a steady pay check coming in, it’s nice to be able to pick and choose what freelance work i want to take. there is no pressure to make so much a month.

one day i sat down to have lunch with my friend joy and she basically told me i was crazy if i didn’t go freelance. i had fantasized about the idea for a few years and had even come close a few times, but actually quitting my job was pretty terrifying. but i just couldn’t stand not being able to explore the possibility and i knew i would kick myself if i didn’t just try it. i also didn’t have the energy to be working literally around the clock any longer.

i didn’t just waltz in my bosses office and have some dramatic “I QUIT!” speech. i took a few months and saved my money. and then saved some more. till i felt comfortable. and then one day I just did it. and i knew i was going to have a lotttta hustlin to do in the upcoming months!

now, i wouldn’t say to everyone “quit your job, it will be easy!” i had worked on establishing some sort of stability in the freelance world before i made the jump. i was working for rue magazine (which at the time was very new) and I had some other pretty stable gigs at the time. but of course i still had nightmares that no one was going to hire me and i was going to regret my decision big time. but it’s been just fine! i’m finally able to focus on projects that get me excited, explore ideas i have always wanted to explore, and i’ve found so much satisfaction in building my own business.

we hope all of you that are on the fence about this find some clarity, because we know it’s a really big decision!

(illustration by katie evans. see all the advice posts over here!)


Add your own

    Shae says:

    Well said. I would love to do my brand fulltime. One day! Oooone day. Great point to mention not storming into your bosses office. I think going for the gusto is good, but have a little tact is better! Congrats on you both going with your guts and taking the leap. It really is the ultimate investment into your brand.

    Abby says:

    Thanks for the advice! I would love to go free lance, it would be so…freeing!

    Lucy says:

    I’m hoping to work toward full time freelance next year, so great to hear this advice. Have to admit the idea is equally thrilling/terrifying!

    gabrielle says:

    it’s so inspiring seeing the different ways to go about freelancing. i can see myself taking the plunge in a few years, but building a portfolio and clientele is on my list of priorities at the moment. i would love to ask you how you manage your time, especially if you are working a full time job AND freelancing… that’s the hard part for me! thanks πŸ™‚

    Kendra says:

    This is so helpful! I’m currently finishing up my 3rd year of university and I would love to be able to freelance after a while! This helps me see how the process may actually go. I love the clocks, btw, so funny and definitely how I actually work now! I agree with Gabrielle that it would be sweet to see how you ladies manage your days and what a day in the life of a freelancer is really like! πŸ™‚

    Marta says:

    Thank you Ladies. I feel so inspired by your stories. Going freelance is my ultimate dream, but then I tell myself that I still need some full-time job experience. {Maybe it is the terrifying voice in my head talking…}
    Crossing my fingers to be able to have a successful career like yours one day.

    Sarah says:

    Thank you! Freelance sounds so terrifying at times, but your stories are so realistic and inspiring.

    Lorena says:

    I wish I could be freelance (not too late) but I think in the insecurity of not having a fixed salary and how hard is to get customers at this moment (at least in a country in crisis as Spain…).
    I hope this situation will change soon! Thank you for the advice.

    Clara says:

    I love graphic on this post, well done Katie!

    I definitely get more creative satisfaction out of my freelance work, which like Katie I do on the side, but my full-time office job allows me to have extra cash to put into projects and I was even just able to buy a house with my fiance!

    julia says:

    this is great! honest and inspiring!

    Sara says:

    Where do we submit more questions? πŸ™‚

    Tiff says:

    Awesome post! I didn’t prepare myself for freelance life… I just leaped out of my day job. That made things a bit more difficult for me, but it was still worth it and I don’t regret overcoming my fear to become a freelance lifer:)

    Robertson says:

    I adore Katie’s graphics. She’s so talented and creative. The two of you make a fantastic team.

    Igor says:

    Great post, truly insightful and helpful! I’d love to freelance one day. We’ll see.

    shirleyj says:

    This is truly helpful…I’ve been thinking about it for a while…but I wanna save enough money first, move, etc..so I will be patient …I do like my day job as a graphic designer too…so its still fun for me while I wait for my funds to grow! πŸ™‚

    I like most of you have this as my goal too. Glad to see a lot of people are trying to step out of the box too!

    eva burns says:

    Thanks for the boost of confidence, but still being so real about your advice too.

    katie evans! says:

    @lorena just because you live in spain doesn’t mean you’re limited to only work there. i llive in the US and have had clients in france and australia. you can work anywhere in the world!

    @sara submit your questions here! bri and i read all of your comments and jot down any of the questions we see for future posts.

    Joy says:

    Hey! I wonder though, do you ladies work from one location (permanent adress forever). I am expected to travel a lot in the future, possibly move to a new place every 2 years or so. Do you think that a freelance business can survive that? I am still in school, but dream of FREElance all the time as all of you πŸ™‚

    Joy says:

    Actually katie evans had already commented related to my question. Sorry!

    Alisa says:

    Getting laid off last fall was the best thing that’s ever happened to my caree. It was also the push I needed to go freelance (a little safety net called “unemployment checks” didn’t hurt either..) Now that I work for myself, I work hard, smarter and happier than I ever did at my corporate b.s. in-house design position. To those of you hoping to cross over, the best thing you can do now is start doing personal projects (not for your day job) and posting them on the web, like NOW. Good luck!

    Katherine says:

    Hi Katie and Bri! Love love love this new column from you guys.

    A future question suggestion (excuse the rhyme):

    Moving across the country (in my case, Chicago–>California) in your early twenties for job/adventure purposes – what has your experience been, and how did you transition?

    Ronnie says:

    Lovely advice, guys! This column is so fab.
    Ronnie xo

    wow!!! thanks for sharing such wise words with us! this keeps me going, lets rock the world!

    Hughs from Mexico!

    Becky! says:

    This is the struggle of my life. I think about it everyday and I have so much encouragement from friends. But then when i think about those two paychecks every month…I become thankful and try to see with clarity. Scary! It is good to know you didn’t just jump in knowing you were going to win at freelance. You go girls.

    chalsie says:

    Well said. I dream of freelancing one day.


    Great question with great answers!
    I have finally come to the realization that freelance is hard work, but so worth it in the end! I can’t seem to STOP, however! Which might not be the worst thing.
    I guess if you truly love what you do, you’ll want to do it all day, everyday!

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today…thank you, thank you, THANK YOU XO brynn

    Love the clock’s! Isn’t this the truth? What you did not mention, is how you challenge yourself and set new goals for yourself as a freelancer everyday! Love your column.

    linda says:

    Thanks, you two. I love seeing everyone’s comments on these advice columns too, knowing that we’re all not alone. I can’t wait to dive into freelance one day. I’m so inspired now…all I really need to do is get out there and do it!

    I can’t say it enough….this series is so helpful. Two great perspectives, both of which I relate to in unique ways. These are helping me more than you know! Thanks for sharing your experiences so openly and honestly!!!!

    laura says:

    Just curious Bri, what type of day job did you have before you got into freelancing? Was it an agency or other type of company where you were a designer?

    I’m also wondering how you both feel about being your own boss? As artists is it difficult to handle the business side? I’ve freelanced here and there and have been screwed over occasionally when it came to getting paid for my services. Ever run into any of those problems? Maybe a better question is, did either of you have a mentor to help you navigate running your own business?

    (Sorry this post was a bit long! I do love this series though πŸ™‚ )

    Rebecca says:

    In a way I have never had to make this decision. Straight out of uni I have been fortunate enough to live with my boyfriend that works full time allowing me the time to establish myself and bring in clients. I am still starting out (graduated six months ago) but I am gradually making more money and getting my work out there. It does, however, take courage not to crawl to the nearest retail job whenever funds are low. Thats what noodles are for right? Even in Norway they are cheap!


    Nice post ladies!
    I just quit my day job as a graphic designer, to be a full time freelancer. Hands down possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but I know there is absolutely no way I can stay stuck at the same desk, 9-5, 5 days a week.
    I’ve been freelancing on the side for a while though, so I knew it was what I wanted to do before I jumped.
    Here’s to chasing your dreams I say! x

    Caisee says:

    HA! I love this graphic (and post, too)! My husband and I are both freelance and this graphic is perfect. I showed it to him and he laughed. The hours are so true. Anywho- love your blog, Bri!It’s always inspiring. I actually rarely ‘read’ blogs, but yours I enjoy! <3

    Tricia says:

    Perfect post. Another “why didn’t I think of that?” – I did freelance back when people had to in 2008-09 and now wish I was again. Someday I will be able to travel the world like you. So happy for you!

    SJ says:

    I was going through this about 6 months ago and my boss gave me some very good advice – if it all falls through you can always just come back to work, then you’ll be exactly where you are now, without the ‘what if’. So the way I saw it, I had nothing to lose. The only thing I wonder now is why I didn’t do it sooner…

    Awesome! Its in fact remarkable post, I have got much clear idea regarding from
    this paragraph.

    Jenifer says:

    Another wise words always come in handy. Thank you

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