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Blake Hunter

great post!

Jay Montgomery

Great and practical advice. I'm going on 12 years fullime freelance illustration and all these ring true. I just wish I could follow them all the time.

Andy J. Smith

Very cool read! Thanks for the post! And congrats on 17 years as a fulltime freelancer... I'm going on 5 months!
All the best,


Very wise indeed, and bravo for the 17 years !

I free-lanced for many years, and now I'm with a company, but the vacation problem is
always the same. Last year I "lost" 22 days of PAID vacation (I work in Paris,France); here there is a delay to respect and I didn't... for the usual reasons...

But I found a surefire way to insure vacation : simply by talking about upcoming vacation ideas with my loved ones (especially my teen-age kids), which generally puts everyone in a great mood, and prompts me to carry through with my promises ! We all deserve it, and with a little planning and organization everything is possible !


Congratulations! These are really great guidelines, thank you.

gary dunn

hi from the uk!
there's a lot of stuff here i recognise!-i have been self employed since 1990 and have had many a dilemma to face like you in those years.the hol-work-no money-no time one always seems to rear its head..we now have two boys..so spare time is now stretched so thin!
i work in town-london- in fits and starts and together with my wife we run a home business too-busy most of the time-we still never turn anything away..sort of a survival mentality going on still
i find myself reassuring newbie freelancers in a similar way that you do here..re tax money..time off..and most of all keeping busy..when we are 'lean' i find the garage is incredibly tidy..or the yard is weeded within an inch of its life..funny ..i do the same...and end up thinking about work in a theraputic way.
thanks for posting-and congratulations too!

gary dunn


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

This is my first year as a freelance illustrator, I quit my job back in December and your advice is very helpful and valuable.

Congrats on your 17 years of freelancing! I only hope to have as much success as you!


Even though not a freelancer yet, or maybe I am a freelancer just haven't gotten any work yet! ha, still loved reading the list.

They may be common sense but they can be easily overlooked and who doesn't need a refresher. Congrats on 17, and early congrats on the next 17!

And the orange font does just fine, cause if you really want to read it, you will. ha ha

Birgit Schultz - Rat & Tat Marketing

Thank you for all your tips! I'm in my fourth year as a freelancing marketing consultant and am extremely thankful for tip #13. I found that in summers no one seems to have work for me, however, from September onwards customers usually come back. Still, I'm worrying too much in that time.

As for taking vacations - I found that I've got the same feelings as you have but every odd year me and my partner (also a freelancer) feel that we have to get new impressions. There are cheap ways to travel - and sometimes relatives at interesting places may be nice hosts if it's not too long.


Zach Everson

Congrats! I just celebrated my two-year anniversary of freelancing. My suggestion for taking a vacation: schedule it months in advance. That way you can plan your work around it and notify your regular clients about your not being available.


#18 - Don't use orange font to display something meaningful.


I am only in my third year of freelancing but in a different field, that is programming. I find your advices very useful. Thanks and Best Wishes



Nice list, I am from the software area, but all you said applies to us. I have been a freelancer (or sometimes a small business owner) for 11 years. As you said, it is so difficult to have vacations !!


What a great list! Your point about not being afraid to call up a client who's been out of touch for a while is an extremely good one - a tip that has paid off in the past... I can identify with so much of what you say - for example, I find it's a constant struggle to stay organized, and I'm sure that if I could only learn to manage my time a little more effectively, it might actually have been possible to take more than a one-day vacation sometime in the past decade! Congratulations on 17 years of freelancing, and I wish you many more happy and productive years in business!


This will be of great help to me. Thanks for the tips!

Chris Dillon

Great list and congratulations on your anniversary. I've been an entrepreneur for 11 years, and here are two things that I'd add:

1. Attend conferences and seminars -- they are a great way to stay visible, keep your skills up to date, and meet prospective customers, partners and suppliers.

2. Don't be afraid to (graciously) turn down work. A project or a client that is not a good fit for your skills or your temperment will make you unhappy or worse, and interfere with your ability to do profitable work that you enjoy.



Good guidlines i have add it to my favorites

Brian Morris

Congrats on 17 years - it's inspiring. After 6 years of freelancing, i took a "real job" two weeks ago, and am already questioning my decision.

Your advice is dead on - thanks.

Doug Schwartz

17 years? Good job! I'm at 20 and counting.

You must take a vacation. I'm lucky--my wife doesn't work and loves to research the sunny places like Hawaii and Mexico. We usually take 10 days off in the spring when our daughter is on her spring break, so I can tell folks months in advance when I'll be gone.

It takes me about two days to wind down, so then I have another whole week to eat papaya off the tree, etc. I do start getting a bit antsy to get back to it after about a week, so 10 days just works out great.

doug in Seattle

John Bokma

@9 "There will be days when NO time is your best time. Work anyway.". My advice, if you have a day that is a NO, then take that day off, *and* when needed, use a weekend day to get even. In my experience trying to force something getting out of your hands results in a very unsatisfying day that can have it's impact on the next.

@10 vacation: plan ahead, months. So you and your customers know it's coming.

Very good list, thanks.

Bud Bilanich

Congratulations on 17 years in business! I had my 18th anniversary in April.
More importantly, thanks for these great common sense ideas on running a business.
Best wishes for 17 or 34 (or however long you want to work) more years of success.
Bud Bilanich
The Common Sense Guy


Congrats! Wow, 17 years - that's amazing!

Re. vacation - I personally go around this by traveling to events that take place out of town and tack on an extra couple of days to the trip. (In my case it's rock concerts, but it can be anything.) The event gives me a "deadline" and a better sense of purpose, and even if I really don't have the time for anything more, at least I've managed to get away for a bit.

Duncan Robertson - Brand Empire

Congratulations on your 17 years of freelance success!

Thank you for the guidelines for all the rest of us newer freelancers.

John Cox


I've only been freelancing for seven years, but I've worked out the holiday thing. Book them ahead and pay for them ahead. I started out booking holidays in January (a traditionaly quiet time) and paying them off over the year. It meant that even if I had no work (and no money) during january I knew I would still be sitting in a resort on a beach for a week, fully paid for.

And another thing about holidays - go somewhere where you HAVE to do nothing. Doing nothing is such a hard thing to do at home, because there is always a few more hours on a project, or a few more emails to check. Go AWAY and turn off. your body and your family will thank you for it.


A belated congratulations/happy freelance anniversary (& happy birthday to your nephew, as well) :)
Thanks for the tips!

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