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I Found Freedom: Jessica Freeman

When you’re itchin’ to make the leap into full-time freelancing, there is nothing more inspiring than hearing stories of people that have done it themselves.

The ‘I Found Freedom’ series is all about telling those stories.

I’m super excited for today’s guest, as she was one of the first readers of FTFP, and was featured in a Freelancer Spotlight back when she was still freelancing on the side. It’s been so fun watching her evolve from part-time freelancer to full-time business owner.

Here’s Jessica Freeman’s story.

I Found Freedom: Jessica Freeman

When did you make the leap exactly and how does it feel?

I became a full-time freelancer on October 1, 2014! That first week was scary, surreal and SO exciting. The scariness has long worn off by now, but I totally love being able to do Jess Creatives full-time now.

It’s funny how unbelievably scared I was before taking the leap, and now doing it… there’s no greater feeling than doing what you love.

What kind of freelancing do you do?

I’m a graphic and web designer that works with freelancers, small businesses and non-profits. I work on a variety of projects – branding, newsletters, websites, social media graphics. I really love working with the small businesses and one-person shops because I think too many believe that they can’t afford or don’t really need a good logo, or a nice website – which is not the case.

I think about this a lot when I’m driving past our local restaurants. Restaurant A may serve really awesome tacos, but it looks super sketchy, so I’m more likely to go down the street to the chain restaurant. I’m sure that Restaurant A has really awesome tacos, but a banner hanging on the side of your building, with their name in Times New Roman? Not enticing. Just because they’re not a multi-million dollar chain doesn’t mean they can’t look like it!

How long did you plan before making your leap?

It was the summer of 2014 when my husband and I started to really think about making Jess Creatives full-time. It had been a goal for a few years later down the road, but I hated my day job so much + my freelance was really picking up, that we started to think about doing it sooner.

Did you choose a quit date and how did you choose it?

After a few months of thinking about it, my husband and I had decided that this was probably going to happen. I talked to my family about it one weekend, and decided I was going to quit that Monday when I returned to work! We didn’t really choose a date several months in advance or anything like that, it was just like… as soon as we decided we should do it, I quit! 🙂

In which ways did you plan/prepare for the transition?

I had built up a pretty good list of clients (several that were ongoing or returning clients), so that helped me feel more prepared for the transition. I also had some savings built up in case the first few months were slow. I had also taken Stress Less & Impress, which really helped me streamline everything – which was great because then I already had a solid workflow going into freelance full-time.

Did you have a savings or buffer fund?

We did! Since I was working full-time, most of my freelance money went into just a savings account. We would occasionally pull from it for vacations or fun, extra stuff… but most of the time it just sat there building up! I don’t remember the exact amount that we had in there when I quit, but I think it was around $5-6k. I never ended up needing it, thankfully! 🙂

What was the hardest part of making the leap?

The fear of the unknown. Between my husband and I, I’m the money-conscious + saver, so knowing the possibility of income fluctuating scared the crap out of me. I also didn’t want to fail. People told me that if it didn’t work out or if I didn’t like it (ha!) that I could always go work part-time at Starbucks or a grocery store. I did NOT want that to happen!

What’s the best part of finally freelancing full-time?

The flexibility. I don’t have limited vacation days, so if I want to go out of town, I can. If I need a day to just take a breather, I can. If I need a day to just hang out with my husband, I CAN!

I can take two hour lunch breaks, sleep in a little bit, stop working a little early to go for a run, etc. (I say all this, and I’ve done maybe one of each in the last four months.)

What is your advice for others wanting to find freedom through freelancing?

Be a part of a community – whether offline or online. The FTF Community was a *huge* help to me (and still is) before I took the leap. I learned so much from so many people! It’s also where I found an accountability partner and a mastermind group, which have also been great to have as a freelancer!

How did you celebrate?

This is going to sound silly, but we actually threw a retirement party – because I was “retiring” from the corporate world. It was basically just having a few friends over for dinner, nothing crazy… but being around the people who support you and your dreams is THE best.

In one short sentence, what does freedom mean to you?

Thanks Jessica!

Jessica Freeman, owner of Jess Creative, works with entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profits to create stunning graphics and websites that help them stand out among competition so they can focus on doing what they do best. After hours, Jess enjoys spending time with her husband, Aaron, and #FranktheChair. They currently live in Atlanta, GA, where they enjoy working out, volunteering, and working on side projects for Jess Creatives.

If you’d like to know more, you can visit www.jesscreatives.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

 

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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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Love hearing your story Jess! I’m with you on why small businesses should invest in good design. I’m way more likely to go to the people that took the time and effort to present themselves properly 🙂

  • Congrats, Jess — both on making the leap and on making it in a way that structured you for success. And thanks, Leah, for sharing the story!

  • So great to see you featured here, Jess! And so glad I met you in the FTF group. You deserve all your success and more!

  • Jessica – Very inspiring story. Love the fact that you just went for it, and the “retirement party”! Looking to join you in retirement in a few months!

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