I've learned some valuable lessons since starting my business full-time! My hope is that these lessons will help shorten up some of your entrepreneurial learning curves and fast track your path to freelance success!
1. Value Your time
Your customers and clients are extremely important to the success of your business. However, you have to be a positive and healthy place yourself in order to serve them in the best way possible. It took me a few months into my business to realize that I don't have to answer every email the moment that I receive it. While it is important to respond to your customers in a timely manner, it's crucial not to let your inbox over take your day. When I first started freelancing, I would work all hours of the day. Answering emails at 11pm while watching a movie with my better half. After a while I became resentful towards my business and started to feel burnt-out by the workload. Moving to an office space was the best thing that I ever did. I now work normal office hours and rarely answer emails when I'm not at work. This has given me the freedom to enjoy my downtime and feel refreshed when I arrive at the office. Just because you work for yourself, doesn't mean you aren't entitled to time off and coffee breaks. If your customers truly value your work and respect your time, they won't expect you to at their beck and call 24/7.
2. Value Your Skills
Don't undervalue your skills or abilities. In my case, I worked long and hard to receive my education in graphic design. Therefore I am very firm with my pricing. Given my level of experience and education, I have developed a pretty accurate idea of what my time in worth. I always do my best to help those with smaller budgets and come up with affordable and creative solutions for their design projects. With that being said, I never let people undermine my value if they disagree with my pricing. They wouldn't try and strike a deal with their bookkeeper so why should they do that to you? Be confident in your pricing and stick to it.
3. Keep Learning and honing your skills
One of the best things you can do for your business is to keep learning and growing. I am always trying to expand my skills in order to serve my customers better. One of my favorite ways of doing this is by listening to podcasts while working. If a customer asks me a question that I don't know the answer to, I never just say "I don't know." My answer usually, "I'm not sure, but I can find out". The odds are, If one of your customers has a question, there are often a few more who have the same question or concern. By constantly growing your knowledge, you are also able to keep up with trends and new products coming on the market. In my field, it is extremely important for me to stay up to date on the latest design trends.
4. Make Business Friends
Connect with other business owners and creative entrepreneurs. Working for yourself can be lonely, but it doesn't have to be! This requires you to be a little brave and attend networking events. You would be surprised how helpful it is to have friends who are also working for themselves. I greatly value sharing an office with my business partner and friend, Michelle. It's so motivating to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are excited to see you succeed and vice versa.
5. Routine is your best friend
You may be considering leaving your day job with the anticipation that working for yourself will allow for a more flexible schedule. Unfortunately that's just not usually the case. I personally get much more accomplished when I set out a routine for myself. Given that I now work out of an office, I work regular office hours like I would at a day job. I feel this is a pivotal component to getting a lot done during the day. If you will be working for yourself from home, consider creating a schedule. Have your alarm go off in the morning, get up have your coffee and prepare for your workday. Shut your laptop off at 5 pm. Try your best to stay focused during the day so you can relax in the evening.
Did you find these lessons helpful?
Do you have any questions about working for yourself? Ask below!
I’m Rosemary and I love all things design.
Over the years as a professional graphic designer, I have had the pleasure of working with companies in variety of industries, from corporate businesses to home based start-ups. I've realized over time that my true passion is working with creative entrepreneurs. I am always incredibly grateful to my clients for allowing me to be part of their brand story. I take great pride in working closely alongside my customers to provide beautifully crafted and timeless brand strategies that will serve them well for years to come.