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?
Social Networking – Hiive
Social Networking – LinkedIn
Portfolio Creation – Yola
Business Cards – Moo
This is a collaborative post.
Great list, I’m sure you’ll do really well as a freelancer. Have you thought about joining Hiive too? It’s great for creatives and lots of companies are putting their work opportunities on there now.
Thanks for linking up with the Weekend Blog Hop!
Thank you, I hope so. I’ve not really been focusing on it as I am working at the mo, but getting prepared now for next year. Yes I’ve just discovered Hiive (point 4!) – it’s looking very useful xx
You sound really organised so far! Great to have started thinking about these things already. I didn’t have the same issue but my job involved night working and it just couldn’t happen around the school run. I ended up leaving and starting my own business. So scary but now I look back totally the right choice. Good luck with what you decide, as you say you never know what doors will open from each new opportunity 🙂
Ha ha, I wish I was organised – but writing this list might actually make me get started! Wow you started your own business, that is brilliant, very inspiring. It must take a lot of hard work and commitment, hopefully I’ll be ready next year. Fingers crossed xx
Great tips. It is great that there is a network more focused on freelance creatives x
Thank you. It is great, hopefully will be lots of opportunities coming out of Hiive x
My career seems to have developed very much like yours has around family. I work in PR and have been able to work flexibly from home and in the office over three and a half days. We’re a few years off school but it does worry me what work pattern will work best. Shorter days but more of them is the obvious answer but I enjoy my family days so much. Freelance may be the way forward. Let me know when you figure it out 🙂 #sharewithme
Oh yes it does sound similar to mine. It’s a year away for me, so I’m starting to worry. I know I’m going to miss my 2 fun days with him, but I guess he’ll be in school then. Ideally I want to stay where I work, it’s lovely there, but yeah let’s see! xx
Love these tips! I run a media recruitment site at Rachel’s List and it’s such a huge transition, moving from full-time to freelance. You really need to think like a business more than just a contractor, and there’s so much to consider when you work for yourself. You end up wearing SO many hats and if you drop the ball on any of them… disaster. I’ve been freelance for well over 12 years now and love it, but it is definitely a learning curve. Even more so now I’ve become a mum, and am trying to figure out how to fit work around my bubba. Challenging times 🙂
Thank you! That’s it, you have to think like a business. I don’t think it’ll be easy and I’d love to stay where I work now, it’s lovely there. Hopefully I’ll be able to work out a way, still got a year off the boy starting school, so let’s see! xx
I know it’s so difficult to accommodate both work and kids, and with the slightest change of circumstance, it could ruin our comfortable routine…. Anyway, Good luck!
That’s exactly it, a comfortable routine. I don’t want to change it, but at least I’ve still got a year to go! xx
I have a bit of flexability as we run our own business so my boss has no option to honour flexi working 😉 I would love my own blogging space too, currently I blog from the dining room table surrounded by toys!!
Ooh running you’re own business, that is very impressive! I haven’t been so brave yet. Oh yes I would love to have a blogging space! xx
Great list – I’m sure I will go freelance (PR) one day and there are some really great tips in here. It is daunting, but setting out the steps to take to get there makes it seem very possible and exciting. Good luck with everything x
Thank good, glad the list helps. Yes it is daunting! Still got a year to go before I have to worry about it, but at least I can get prepared now xx
Aaah it’s such a brilliant thing to do Sabrina! I was terrified initially — it was such a leap of faith — wondering if I was going to get enough work to pay the mortgage! But I ended up earning more than my husband and never, ever being out of work 🙂 I literally went from job to job — I never showed my book either — it was all word of mouth. Linked In is an amazing resource — also — I would suggest setting up a limited company. Good luck pet! xx
Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x
Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk
Oh wow, that is amazing! Thank you for this comment, makes me feel a bit more confident to go for it. Don’t have to worry about for another year, but at least I can get prepared. Thanks! xx
So scary but what a great step to take or leap I should say. Good for you and best of luck on your new amazing journey. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
Thank you, it is scary, but at least I’ve got a year to prepare! xx
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