There will be feast and there will be famine A freelancers income isn't usually as steady or stable in the beginning as a monthly salary can be, and being okay with both the feast and famine stages is a must. Some months may be fantastic - all your clients pay on time, you're booked up full with new work, and you make more in one month than you do sometimes in three. But then there are those quiet months, where work seems to dry up, or you're chasing clients for payment, and you panic a little inside that you won't pull together enough to pay this months bills. The best way to deal with this is to save, save, save - when money is good, remember that there will be some quiet months so stick to your usual budget and save any extra in advance for those quieter periods. The financial ups and downs of working for yourself comes with the territory, and the best thing we can do is be responsible with our finances along the way.
Stand by your brand You're going to face criticism and judgement along the way when you're a working creative - people may not understand exactly what it is that you do, or appreciate your approach and vision when it comes to your work. You may be told you're too young, too inexperienced, or that your prices are too high or that no one wants what you're selling - but if you believe enough in your work and know that it has value and purpose, stand by your brand every step of the way. I've found that the biggest way we can do this is by not apologising - not apologising for our prices, or our process, or our voice when it comes to sharing who we are, what we do, and who we do it for.
Know your worth Standing by your brand also means knowing your own worth, and we do this through our actions and how we respond to others who can't see our value. It's about believing in your service or product enough to share and market it in a way that connects with your ideal client and audience, and standing your ground when people try and discredit you or make you feel smaller. It's about knowing that the work you do is worth what you're charging, and to not apologise for your prices every time they come up in conversation. I'm a big advocate for working for free when it makes sense to - for example to develop your portfolio, gain experience, or on a project that feeds your soul in a way money never can - though I also think that as freelancers we should know that our work has value and to never let ourselves be taken advantage of.
One of my favourite things in the world is seeing people, whether it's online friends or the people I've known in real life for years, chase their dreams, go it alone, and build a life for themselves that embraces their passions and their awesome abilities to create a sustainable business for themselves. What I'm learning along the way is that it's so important to believe in ourselves, know our own worth, and focus on doing work that we're crazy passionate about.
If you're a freelancer, I'd love to know your thoughts?
P.S Make sure you read Anastasia's Letter To Every Freelancer on ALO!
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