Freelance Series | My First Month of Self Employment
Before I knew it, April came and went as quick as a flash. Amidst the first few weeks of the novelty that was working from home (illustrated by my first Freelance Series post here) I've already learnt a lot about myself as an artist, as a boss, and as a person.
The Night Owl Flew The Nest
After years of side-hustling into the night after a 9-5 day, I had convinced myself that I'm naturally a Night Owl and that I work best later in the day. Believing this myth that I created for myself, I spent the first week spending mornings and lunchtimes wandering about town, meeting people for coffee, watching The Crown, going to the gym etc. And low and behold it gets to 3pm and I don't fancy starting work. I either became sluggish or I was having too much fun enjoying my little life of leisure to go upstairs and get my arse to work. So, it turns out that I do actually thrive with a 9-5 structure, but with flexibility around the day if I need it, eg if I need to run a few errands or I want to have a longer lunch to see my parents etc. I'm getting into the habit of waking up early (same time as Martin gets up to go to work) and enjoying a nice hearty breakfast whilst doing admin to wake my brain up, which is a better way for me to get started.
I'm My Own Michael Scott
If I could get myself a 'Worlds Greatest Boss' mug I would, but I'd be both incorrect and weird. I've found that I think that I 'deserve' long breaks all the time and I want to appease myself with rewards and days out all too often! It's like I want to impress myself and keep myself sweet, which is rather peculiar. So, I need to stop trying to be that cool boss and start to be stricter on myself. That means timing my working hours, obeying my daily to-do lists and going the extra mile to get all the achievements that I want! On another note, my pricing and business game has stepped up loads. I have the AOI's Illustrator's Guide to Business and Law to hand on my desk for when I quote projects, send invoices and write up my contracts. It's really fascinating learning about the laws of licensing illustration and my confidence has increased so much.
It Feels So Right
I love the empowerment of finding my own work (although financially it's still a massive uphill climb until I feel like I'm making a decent income) and talking to clients and customers. I love having the time to explore ideas and having the opportunity to work on different projects. At the moment I spend a day or two on client work, then a day on my own personal projects to build my new portfolio and product range for my shop. I have shifts at my part time job the rest of the time, but I do admin and blog work around those. Also late night gym classes helps me get my exersize in. My back is starting to ache seeing as I don't need to move much anymore, so I'll be starting a yoga course at InBalance Hot Yoga in Southampton to keep flexible and explore meditation to help with my sleep (caffeine intake and late shifts have funked up my eating and sleeping pattern!)
According to the drunken notes I scrawled in my notebook whilst enjoying a fabulous glass of rose last week, "I am so freaking happy!!!" I still get that weekend feeling by making the most of the time around my shifts by seeing friends or enjoying a lovely Hendricks to wind down after a busy week. I can't believe that my job is to draw and sell my work from home.
Although every choice I make financially is a risk (I just booked a big holiday which will make a dent in my savings, and I don't get holiday pay anymore!) I feel I budget so much better and I spend way less money being at home. No more impulse buys at the work canteen or in Asda across the road on my lunch breaks, and when I fancy a clothes shop, I really think hard about if I realllyyyy need it. I check my bank balance every morning to keep me in line. Also I'm saving so much petrol as I only drive to the gym or to my parents, both very local!
I feel fulfilled as I'm spending more hours in the evening on my hobbies like reading and going to the cinema. And I love my boyfriend Martin. He's very supportive of my decision and I think that he likes that I get to do more chores in the daytime! Besides the odd spells of loneliness, I feel really content and motivated.
So thats my month in a nutshell. I haven't earned as much as I had planned, but I've got big plans and ideas for May and June, including a few craft fairs! If you have any questions or tips, do let me know or comment below!