A point comes during the career of most creative-type employees where they have to decide if they want to keep giving their time to their company or strike out on their own. Depending on where you work, the ‘stay’ option may often be a good call, but it’s also highly fulfilling to be your own boss.
If you’re considering making the jump to self-employment and business ownership, there are several realizations to embrace that will help you find success:
1. You Don’t Have to Do It All on Your Own
Designers are a special breed. They take a vague concept and give it tangibility, turning ideas into attractive layouts and images. That task requires vision and an ability to make ‘something out of nothing.’
It’s thus logical that the same types of personalities would want to control every aspect of their new freelance business. Unfortunately, the work required to run a business can take away from time to do what you do best — art and design.
Don’t be afraid to hire an accountant or lawyer to set up your LLC or S-Corporation. A bookkeeper can be your best friend when tax time rolls around. If you’re in high demand, you should even consider hiring fresh designers to help you with projects. You can always put the finishing touches on a project before it goes to a client.
2. Keep Yourself Focused
When big projects stack up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Do you ever feel like you’ve spent an entire day checking emails and handling phone calls, without ever getting to the major tasks at hand?
Discipline yourself. Personally, I decide at the end of the day what my top priority is the next day. When I sit down at my desk, I knock out at least an hour of work on that project before even checking my email. Start your morning with real productivity and you’ll set the tone for your entire day.
3. Prepare For Deadlines
There’s nothing more stressful than falling behind on deadlines (or getting hounded by clients who are upset that you’re late). Keep on top of your schedule with a detailed calendar (Apple’s iCal and Google Calendar both sync between phones, devices, and computers).
Work ahead when you have free time, and you’ll reduce the number of sleepless nights you’ll spend working frantically at the last minute.
4. Seek Out Feedback
Especially for new business owners, constructive criticism is paramount. Don’t be afraid to contact peers in your industry and seek out their advice. From pricing to business structure, it will benefit you to compare yourself to other designers in your region and field, and most of the time, you’ll make friendly connections who are happy to offer feedback.
5. Keep Your Life in Balance
Being an entrepreneur is demanding. In today’s world, it’s difficult to find time to shut off the phone or the computer and disconnect. Making time to get away from work is crucial, however, no matter how busy and overwhelmed you feel. Remember why you’re working hard to do this in the first place!
When your mind is cluttered and distracted, it’s difficult to devote your full talent to your art. Keep your own well-being in check, and everything else will fall into place around you.
What other ideas do you have for a budding entrepreneurial designer? Please leave us a reaction in the comment section.