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Freelancer Spotlight: Melissa Burkheimer

This week I have the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Burkheimer, graphic designer, social media marketer and now creative director for entrepreneurs.

She wears a lot of hats, has skills in a lot of areas, and is doing what all freelancers should do: find the perfect balance between what her clients need and what services she loves providing most.

Welcome Melissa!

Melissa Burkheimer

What kind of freelancing do you do and how did you get started?

When I started as a freelancer I was doing graphic design work for pretty much anyone who would let me and pay me. I decided to get back into design (aside from doing stuff for friends and family) because I got a creative itch. My current position didn’t allow any room for creative growth.

Are you freelancing full-time or on the side?

I’m a full-time freelancer. I started doing graphic design and now I’m transitioning into working for entrepreneurs as a virtual creative director, meaning I manage their big projects, critique designs and make sure stuff happens when it’s supposed to. I also do social media training and coaching for retail business owners.

How long did you freelance on the side before you made the jump?

I worked as a freelancer on the side for 9 months before I quit my job. I landed a permanent gig as the social media manager for a local flower shop, so that gave me the security I needed to convince my husband that this freelance thing should be a permanent gig.

What is your favourite part of working for yourself?

My favorite part of working for myself is two-fold. First, I love having the control about who I work with and how much money I make. Having the flexibility to go to Yoga in the morning and then work all afternoon is awesome.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in working for yourself?

My biggest challenge is realizing that it’s safe for me to make money. I struggle a lot with my worth and I’m just now to the point to where I’m ready to increase my rates and charge what I’m worth.

Walk us through your typical workday.

After I get the kids off to school, I always take 20 minutes or so to catch up on email, check my calendar and engage on my audience on social media. I spend 1-2 hours working on growing my business. This might mean I’m working on a blog post, editing an offer, writing a video script or working on growing my list. After that, I take a quick social media break, grab a bite to eat and spend the rest of the afternoon working on client projects. Once my kids come home from school, I finish odds and ends and then close up shop for the day. If there are big projects I’m working on, I’ll finish later in the evening.

What advice would you give to someone a few steps behind you in their freelancing entrepreneurial journey?

Focus on delivering great value. Set up systems, set client boundaries and stay with it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Thanks for sharing Melissa!

Melissa Burkheimer is an award-winning graphic designer and social media marketer who helps entrepreneurs create an amazing visual brand on and offline. At her core she believes marketing should be simple, effective and most of all, fun. Check out her website here.



P.S. If you haven’t filled out the Freelance To Freedom survey for a chance to win a copy of a must-read book for freelancers, “Everything I Know” by Paul Jarvis….be sure to do so here: Take Me To The Survey! (It will be up for just a couple more days and I’ll be so grateful to get to know you better!)


Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Thank you so much for the opportunity to be the “spotlight freelancer.” I love what you’ve got going here. Keep up the fabulous work!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Thank you Melissa for contributing!

  • “If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it” might have to be my mantra this year. I had a scenario the other day when I was being pulled in all kinds of directions–should I, shouldn’t I? I paused, looking for the answer. The first article I ran into was “If it isn’t a hell yeah, it’s a no” There was my answer. Now I just have to remember to apply it.
    Great interview.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Love that! Trying to put it in action more often myself! Thanks for your comment Lorna!

    • Thank you Lorna! I like “If it isn’t a hell yeah, it’s a no,” better! Might have to steal it. 🙂

  • Melissa…and I just thought you worked on social media. Good to know in more detail what you do.

  • You are such an experience. There is nothing called job security. I never realized that until i got made redundant 2 years ago and i had to put on my big girl panties rock my hustle or get evicted from my home.

    Even if we have a job we need to have a side hustle doing what we love and slide into it slowly. That’s how i got my business started.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • You’re such a smartie pants Joyce. 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      And I think even with a job we love a side-hustle is necessary to protect ourselves for the good ol’ redundancy!

  • Great to hear about your journey, Melissa! I love these freelancer spotlights, Leah!

  • Melissa~ thanks so much for sharing your story! A loved one is thinking about making the leap to going freelance full-time, so I’ll definitely pass along this link. Cheers!

  • Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.

    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I will definitely return.

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