As you may have guessed, I’m a graphic designer. I used to work in marketing but retrained back in 2010, doing evening classes studying Graphic Design. And then I found my perfect job working full-time as a Creative Artworker in a small North London agency.
When I came back to work after maternity leave, my company were kind enough to let me change my hours to 3 days a week. I absolutely love it as I get the best of both worlds – I have 4 days to spend with my boy, taking him places, having train adventures, going to playgroup, or simply having chill-out days at home. And then I have 3 days where I’m me again, being able to use my mind and my skills at work, having grown-up conversations with colleagues, being able to have a cuppa in peace and the half-hour lunch-break all to myself. This work/life combo has really kept me sane for the past 2 years.
My worry is for next year, when my boy will start school. I can’t see how I’ll be able to drop him off to school in Berkshire, then the 2 hour commute into North London and then make it back in time to pick him up when schools normally finish for the day at 3.15pm. It may not be physically possible. Unless my company allow me to work from home, I may have to look into going freelance once my boy starts school.
So I’ve been thinking about how I would go about making the transition, and this is what I’ve come up with so far.
1) Keep my online portfolio up-to-date
Every graphic designer has an online portfolio, but it’s easy to forget to update it with current and more recent work. Which is exactly what I have forgotten to do (this blog may just be taking up my time haha!) So that’s on my to-do list. My portfolio was created at www.yola.com.
2) Registering my name as a domain name.
Being a freelancer means that my name becomes my brand. It would also look more professional to have my own website.
3) Start a blog
Tick! My blog at themummystylist.com is to showcase my design skills as well as being a mummy – hence the name Mummy Stylist. I designed my website graphics, and I also get to practice my design skills on the images within my blog posts. As well as this, it will hopefully raise my profile
4) Join business-oriented social networking sites
We’ve all heard of LinkedIn, but now there’s a new site just for creatives called Hiive.
Hiive is quite similar to LinkedIn in that you create an online profile detailing your work history, and you can connect with other creatives in the industry. Employers list vacancies on here, so this should be a good place to find freelance work. There’s also a section listing creative courses across the UK, ranging from short courses to degrees. So that’s something to keep in mind if I want to improve my skills in the future.
5) Get endorsement from colleagues.
Freelance relies heavily on word-of-mouth and recommendations, so I need to get those endorsements in on Hiive and LinkedIn while I’m still working. And when I do get my first freelance job, get as many endorsements as possible, and do a follow-up, say 6 months later, to find out if the work I created was successful (hopefully yes :-D)
6) Get my contacts and maintain contact
As well as having the contacts on social media, it’s important to have a list of contacts – business cards, email addresses – they will be important once I’m not working day-to-day with them, and one of those contacts may be a source of freelance work.
7) Research market prices
It’s always worthwhile to find out what others are charging, so I can have an idea of what to charge and work out how much work I would need to do to cover our finances.
8) Set up a home office
Oh I have been dreaming about this one, as I’ve seen many bloggers post photos of their blog corners, a lovely desk and chair, beautiful stationery, wall art and those little nic nacs to make it your space – ahhhh. I definitely hope to have my desk space by next year.
9) Create business cards
I already have some but they’re a bit out of date, so I’d like to make some new ones. I should do this quite soon so I can hand it out to contacts now (another one to add to the to-do list!)
10) Tell everyone!
As mentioned earlier, freelance relies on word of mouth, and who knows where that freelance job will come from. It may come from a friend’s neighbour’s great-aunt or something! Basically, I will need people to know I will be available for freelance work nearer the time, so this will be something I’ll be shouting about next year.
Anyway, that is my rough plan. Scary times, but exciting too 🙂 Does anyone else have this dilemma of what to do once we have the school run to worry about?
This is a collaborative post.