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October 2013

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Comments

Beeron

A lovely piece of info!

Juno888

You're blog is pretty useful..I like it much...I'll keep in touch with this site to know more informations..

Isabel

Great list. I'm going to have to print it out and tape it up on the wall in my home office so I can remind myself!

Alasdair Morgan

Here's a suggestion for your holiday quandry:

Book your holiday (if you're going to go away somewhere), 6 months in advance, and buy tickets, etc., at least 3 months in advance (of course get insurance just in case), so that you're obligated to go.

Everything else will take care of itself (including timing and money).

All the best,

Alasdair

Gary

Fantastic advice for freelancers in any field. Number sixteen is the one I need to take most heed of, I think.

Autumn

I have a "vacation" fund, and I save up for several small trips through out the year, and thankfully also have friends all over the country. I'll take long weekends to go visit them.

I also have a special fund which is my "fun" vacation. I put a little in it every week and once a year I go some where - alone or with a friend - a bit more extravagant. This year I'm planning for somewhere with sunshine, white beaches and drinks with umbrellas.

Suw

Great advice!

I've been freelance for over 10 years, and just this year had my first proper holiday. My advice on that would be to block out some time in your diary way ahead of when you want to take your holiday, then when work comes in for that period, say 'I'm sorry, I have commitments during June'. Clients will think that they can persuade you out of a holiday, but they won't question 'other commitments'. And remember that it *is* an important commitment - to yourself.

And to add a few more:

Save. When times are good, (or evening not so good), make sure you put money away in the bank. Not only will it help you through the sparse times when work is thin on the ground, it will also mean that you have money available should some sort of disaster befall you. If you spend from your savings, make sure you top them back up again as soon as you are able. This, of all things, takes a lot the stress out of freelancing, which is usually about money.

Don't wait until you are short of work to start doing marketing. Freelancers are susceptible to the 'feast or famine' cycle, i.e. you either have too much work or not enough. It's far better for the nerves to level this rollercoaster out a bit, so try to always have some kind of background marketing going on all the time. Blogs are really good for this, so for those who don't yet have one, get one! Try not to fall in to the trap of 'I am so busy with this client I don't have time to market myself' because that will inevitably lead to 'Oops, no work.' Make time every week to do admin and marketing.

If you get really busy, put your prices up. Instead of trying to cram more work in, try to earn more for doing less. Yes, I know, it's difficult for those of us with an over-developed work ethic, but seriously, if you're too busy it means you're not charging enough.

Anyway, brilliant article - glad I'm not the only one dealing with these issues!

Paul Kirchner

Excellent guidelines. I have been a freelance illustrator since 1973, minus six years as an art director at an ad agency. I second everything you say, and if I might I would add a couple of other lessons I've learned:

1.) Always get a jump on a job. If you procrastinate because you have a generous deadline, you may end up having to turn down other work that comes in when you're up against it.

2.) Sensitize your antennae to what the art director says. It may be something like, "The sketch looks great. . . at first I was a little concerned about the guy's hairstyle, but then I thought, no, I'm just over-thinking, so don't worry about it, everything's fine." That means--change the hairstyle!

3.) Communicate early and often. If time permits, fax or email the art director rough sketches before going to tight sketches. This has saved me a lot of wasted effort.

4.) I would underline your point #4 about "attitude." The art director is generally under a great deal of stress. When you get last-minute or seemingly arbitrary changes, or stinging criticisms, accept them cheerfully. Never express the irritation you may feel. The extent to which you can do this will go a long way toward creating successful long-term relationships. Some art directors have poor people skills. If you're one of the illustrators they feel comfortable dealing with, you'll be amply rewarded.

MissMeliss

Followed a link here from elseblog. Glad I did. Great tips. Thank you :)

Nicolette Tallmadge

I'm a jeweler, not an illustrator, I just like to look at art and illustrations tand be inspired. :) But these 17 lessons also applies to what I do also...it actually applies to almost anyone who works for themselves. I put a link to this article on my own blog.

Contgratulations on your 17 years, may you have at least 17 more!

communicatrix

I have a slightly different take on vacations.

First, I tend to take many more short breaks than full-on trips.

Second, I often combine them with work-related travel trip, tagging on a few extra days at the end of a conference, etc.

Third, on the advice of my first shrink, I retrained myself to think of "vacation" as "different from everyday." So even if my "vacation" is moving my work to a remote location for a week, it still feels like a break.

Congratulations for a spectacular run! And thanks for the tips. I'm moving from group to solo next year, and the Chamber of Commerce is a great idea.

Vanessa Colina

Hi Megan, i'm writting to let you know that i think your article it's pretty useful. That's why i've traslated it into spanish and post it in my Blog. Don't worry, i gave you full credit. Please be sure to check it out:
http://www.vanessacolina.com/blog

Jennifer

I love this, thank you! I'm trying to run my tiny business and freelance/look for work. Can I just say, arrghh! But this puts things in perspective - thanks again!

Jason Chatfield

Having been a freelancer of only two years I can say that I have trouble with all 17 of these - thanks for the advice :)

sameer kulavoor

THANKS so much! these tips are really inspiring..and they're gonna help me to keep goin on! and congratulations on your 17th anniv!!

astrid

thanks for sharing this with us! very good to feel you're not alone and others experience similar stuff... congrats to your 17 years, awesome =)
astrid

Natura

Congratulations for your Anniversary and thank you very much for charing this "tips". I'm a frelancer too and found them so good and useful!!

Greetings from Peru!!

Gabriel

Greetings from Mexico. I found your post an inspiration, i WOULD like to be self-employed at some point, and your article was really helpful. Im already doing some freelance work, but i gotta be more disciplined. Im going to print your post and put it on my wall, thanks again for the advice. Keep up the great work! and CONGRATULATIONS for you 17th aniversary, i wish you have a lot more.

kathy weller

A big, fat THANK YOU!!!! This is not only a reality check, it is totally inspirational to me. I hope to go freelance sometime in the near future. I really want to take the gigantic leap! But at least in the interim, by woring both a day job and doing freelance, I am learning many of your 17 Things first-hand. One that comes screaming into my head is number 8! I hear that one!! Then there's number 9, number 11...ok, just about ALL of them, I guess!! Anyway, thanks for the list - it's really inspiring and I look forward to joining the ranks in the future.

Camilo

I've just quit my second job ("real", that is), and I'm definitely going freelance (software... seems a lot of us are into that area). I was having doubts about this kind of life, but hey, what the hell, right? I'll be happier! I'm already happier (been doing it for two little months!!). Thanks for the inspiration!

Chris In England

Thanks for the phone call....

hom

hi! well written tips!it opens my mind to enjoy life and being a freelance software developer..anyhow, congrats!lots of blessings!Godbless!

cheers,
hom

Ayelet

How did I miss this?! Thanks for this post - lovely and useful!

Heather Castles

Meg, great advice, all very down-to-earth. You're a tallented illustrator AND you quote Monty Python, you rock!

Brian Duey

Thanks alot for the tips. I can relate with a bunch of the stuff you mentioned!

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