Not only am I having so much fun in the FTF Facebook Community, but I’m getting to connect with so many new awesome freelancers that I’m so excited to feature on the Freelancer Spotlight! Jessica has been hangin’ out and helpin’ out a ton in the group, so it’s a pleasure to have her on today to share her freelancing story.
She’s freelancing on the side- and growing fast! Check out how she does it:
What kind of freelancing do you do and how did you get started?
My freelance business, Jess Creatives, focuses mainly on graphic design, but I also do photography, marketing started in college when I was working on my graphic design degree, and friends or family would approach me with small projects here and there (t-shirts, event flyers, etc). In the fall of 2012, I was a college graduate, in a new city, newly married, working at an office job. I wasn’t designing as much as I wanted, so with the support of my husband, I decided I really wanted to kick freelance into high gear and “make something” more out of Jess Creatives.
Are you freelancing full-time or on the side?
I am still freelancing on the side right now, and working full-time during the week. Once I decided to be more focused and intentional about Jess Creatives, projects started slowly increasing. In 2013, my client base went from 1-2 clients to over a dozen clients. I mostly work with small businesses, organizations and churches. I believe that no matter how small you are, you deserve good design. I care more about helping others improve their brand than making thousands of dollars.
Since you are not freelancing full-time, what is your plan for the future?
Right now, my husband is working part-time and going to school part-time. When he finishes school, we will look more seriously into taking Jess Creatives full-time. Though starting a family is not EVEN close to being in the near future, when that time does come, I would like to do Jess Creatives and stay at home with the kid(s). Maybe when they’re older, open a Jess Creatives office somewhere… 🙂 who knows! I’m just taking this adventure one day at a time – freelance life is always full of surprises!
What is your favorite part of working for yourself?
I like variety and the freedom. I recently pulled up a map and saw that I have clients in 10 different states! With such a range of clients, comes a range of projects. I’ve done everything from brochures and flyers, to designing graphics for an organization to post on Instagram. And while I don’t do it often, I have the freedom to turn down a project – whether it’s because I’m not interested or don’t have the time. It’s not like I have to “stay late at the office” and finish a project.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in working for yourself?
My stress level. I put such high expectations on myself and Jess Creatives. I want to exceed the expectations my clients have of me and my work, so the perfectionist in me sometimes has a hard time “finishing” a project because it could always be better. I also have a hard time turning down projects, because they always sound so fun, or would allow me to enhance my skills – and let’s face it, I’m kind of a people pleaser.
Walk us through your typical workday.
During the week, I work 9-6. My day job is very flexible and easy-going, so I am often responding to emails, scheduling social media posts, etc. for Jess Creatives during the day. After dinner and a workout, that leaves me about an hour or two before going to bed (I’m a grandma, I go to bed SO early!) Most of that time is filled with doing freelance, but there are always more emails to answer and invoices to send.
The weekends are when I do a lot of my freelance work. I typically make an ordered list of projects that need to be worked on and just start designing away. I’ve found the mornings on the weekends are when I’m most focused AND when clients respond less often – which is nice, because then I can continually work and not get distracted by incoming emails. I try to set a goal of working until a certain hour on just design, and then sending out a bunch of proofs, answering emails, sending invoices, etc. It’s easier for me to keep the design and administrative parts separate
What advice would you give to someone a few steps behind you in their freelancing entrepreneurial journey?
First, engage with others on social media! The people that I have found and interacted with on Twitter in just the past six months has been phenomenal for me both personally and professionally. Learn from those not just in YOUR field, but fields that are similar to yours! Secondly, Do what is right for you and your business.
An Atlanta-based designer, Jess enjoys being able to help clients improve their brand with print and digital design pieces. If she’s not at the computer working, you can find her at the gym or watching New Girl. Connect with Jess on Facebook, see what she’s tweeting about, or find out who #FranktheChair is on Instagram.