be free, lance / take advantage of breaks

One thing I discovered this year is that summer becomes a slower season for me as a freelance designer. I’ve never really noticed this before, as spring clients usually melt right into June + July and keep the flow going. But this year was different. Because we went to France and I didn’t want to work while away, I purposely took on less clients going into May, which meant that upon our return in June, my line up was super relaxed.

The thing is, when you freelance … your schedule is never exactly the same. There will be slower weeks, of course, but with that there will also be weeks where you feel buried in work for days on end. At first, I couldn’t help but panic a little bit when those slower days came up. For some reason, I couldn’t get passed the feeling that I needed to work a FULL day, even though there wasn’t enough to do. I would continually refresh my email, open up projects, and feel lost. I essentially sat in my desk chair for far longer than need be.

But guess what?? I’m here to tell you to take advantage of natural breaks within your schedule. Please. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself. Instead of worrying why you’re not as busy, start reading that book you’ve wanted to get into. Run some errands. Play outside. The thing is, there is no way for a freelancer to control absolutely everything that happens during a project. As soon as the client becomes involved, you’re dealing with another person who has a schedule + life separate from yourself. Collaboration and patience is key.

Plus, you never know when those crazy busy weeks will creep up on you! But when they do, you will certainly be glad to have enjoyed those lax days while you could. It’s certainly difficult to get used to the ever changing schedule of a freelancer, but it’ll feel more normal as you go along.

  1. dee says:

    honestly, i read your blog everyday and it’s become my resource as to how-to-live-a-freelance-life! lol i am going through the whole guilt stage right now (taking breaks). i just need to learn to go with the flow. thanks for the reminder. =)

  2. Quyen says:

    This is a great tip and reminder to take it easy. I would love to hear about your trip and how it influences or inspires your design. Thanks!

  3. Rebecca says:

    The “treat yourself” reminded me of Parks&Rec ;)
    I have a hard time shifting gears too but once you get into the swing of it, it’s awfully nice for a little break. When I was working full-time and drowning in grad school full-time not too long ago I thought I was going to break. Then someone told me to take one day completely off of schoolwork. I was terrified I’d fall behind but I did it and I actually worked faster after the break.
    ps. taking breanna rose advice and making little moodboards for all my projects at work today. kinda excited! :)

    • breanna says:

      It’s 100% a Parks & Recs reference. :)

      Good for you taking that break, I’m sure I would have felt the same way! But life goes on and we make it through. Glad you’re making some moodboards. Aren’t they fun??

  4. Jessica says:

    That’s funny because I’ve somehow managed to pick up a few freelance gigs this summer. I normally work full-time 9-5 and just take on freelance occasionally.. but this summer for some reason I’ve been super busy! Breaks a nice though and they should be embraced. I think they really help reboot.

  5. Ann says:

    Timely post, as usual! I am dealing with a slow period now. I have a lot of projects going on, but not a lot of new inquiries – which totally freaks me out! This was comforting to read this morning.

  6. Ruth says:

    I’m going to Pin this, and when I have a freak out 5 minutes that things are a little slow, I’m going to re-read and get my tush outside and enjoying it (instead of copying you and hitting that email refresh button!) :)

  7. monika says:

    Thank you!!! I needed this. Especially this week.

  8. Breaks are SO important. They keep you fresh and creative and allow you to continue to enjoy your job instead of dreading it.

  9. Asia says:

    Ohh goshie and I thought that I am the only one who feels this way. My b-friend has a dayjob so if I have the slow week I have such bad feeling that I do like nothing, seriously I feel like a lazy sloth who observs the rest of the world from the tree. But after I read this post, hey no more pricks of conscience:)

  10. love that i just found your blog because of the image you chose to use; the one i styled of my guest room. thank you for your reference :)

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