In a recent Be Free, Lance post, someone asked me about the business side of being a designer, which I thought would make for a great topic! The truth is – when you choose to become a freelancer, you are no longer just a creative being. You become a secretary, a customer service rep, financial manager, marketing guru, as well as countless other things. You’ll be wearing many hats, but that can be kind of fun, right!?

The trouble is, we don’t always know how to handle / do all of these things. I, for one, am a full fledge designer who definitely doesn’t have a degree in accounting. No worries, though, you don’t have to know everything about business. If you have the passion to become a freelancer, these things will come in time. You’ll learn how to balance emails, finances, and market yourself as you go. It’s all about research + patience. I remember the first year being pretty tough. I didn’t have any sort of organized system for managing clients, got easily overwhelmed by emails, and ( I’ll admit ) didn’t have the best working process.

I’m naturally an organized person who loves planning, so you can imagine that first year really threw me for a loop. For once, I wasn’t able to control absolutely everything, simply because I didn’t know how. Instead of trying to solve everything at once ( which probably would have made things worse ) – I tried my best to learn patience. I would dedicate an hour or so everyday to research a subject I didn’t feel confident in. Whether it was contracts, invoicing, project management, or who knows what – I had to figure it all out.

So, If the business side of being a freelance creative is weighing you down – the best advice I can give you is to move forward with confidence. Your clients don’t need to know all the gritty details about how you organize your business. The important thing is that you’re trying to be a successful business owner. Luckily, thanks to a little thing called the internet, there are a TON of resources out there that you can utilize. Become best friends with google and don’t be afraid to ask for help. We don’t have to know it all, that’s for sure.

  1. Kory says:

    I have definitely noticed this! Since I’ve moved into my apartment, I’m having to learn more about saving and pricing based on my needs. I still haven’t dove into contracts yet, but the main thing that’s been wearing on me is marketing! I always feel like I’m trying to hard with not enough response. It’s difficult, but you’re right. If this is something you want to do, you’ve got to learn to handle what the world throws at you.

  2. Angela Burns says:

    I love this! It is so true… No one is born a successful business owner. The people who do become successful business owners are the ones who stick with it and figure things out. We live in the information age, let’s use it to our advantage!

  3. adela says:

    well i am really quite new to all this… and i am actually really loving the fact that there are suddenly so many new area to explore and so many new things to learn! html for example… which is how i came across this blog, i really really want to know more. the only problem being time or seemingly not enough of it but hey, that’s life!

    thank you! xo adela

    • bre says:

      Yes, agreed! I just feel like there are SO many things we can learn nowadays. We need to pick and choose what we’re amazing at. :)

  4. sheryl says:

    I agree with you, it’s a bit of a juggling act when you first start off but eventually you develop a process whether it’s paperwork or marketing. However, I always find myself updating my processes every so often because I’ll experience something different or I’ll come across useful information on very awesome blogs (like this one!) which I think I should incorporate. I don’t think you can ever stop learning!

    • bre says:

      Oh yes – I totally agree with you! I’m constantly changing up how I do things, but I think that’s a good thing. :) Just learnin’ + growin’.

  5. […] the blogosphere: Kate, Erika, and Patti joined us in the Be Happy Link Up. Breanna shared a great post about everything you have to know as a freelancer. Melanie shared a funny post […]

  6. […] the blogosphere: Kate, Erika, and Patti joined us in the Be Happy Link Up. Breanna shared a great post about everything you have to know as a freelancer. Melanie shared a funny post […]

  7. Rachel says:

    I really love this blog posting and find it very helpful! My goal is to be a freelance designer as well and I’ve learned you need to first learn how you learn best then learn how to teach your self certain things you don’t learn in school (contracts, pricing, invoices, ext…). Sometimes I go to the library and pull a book on certain things like HTML + CSS to better my understandings, but sometimes I don’t know who to ask when I have questions… Is there any tips from anyone on groups to join to bounce ideas/questions off of other designers?

    Thanks again for the blog posts! Very helpful! (:
    -Rachel

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