Around the same time last year, I quit my day jobs to pursue Chasing Linen full-time. Since then, I've been asked a lot of questions regarding how it's been, what I do, etc. so I thought I'd share in this post.
The decision to quit was hands down, the scariest thing I've ever done. At the time, I was a full-time student, working two part-time jobs and doing freelance on the side. My day jobs included building backdrops and making pretty things for Anthropologie and the second was managing social media accounts for a brick and mortar shop called Oh Hello Friend. I love working at both companies and had a blast doing diverse creative projects but at the core, I knew I was itching for more. Coincidentally, I began getting more freelance gigs and it began to demand more of my time. It came to a point where I had to decide between the day jobs or design so I decided to try it out. A year later, I'm so glad I took that leap of faith and I absolutely love what I get to do for a living :)
Every week looks a little different but I'd say my job is 90% designing and 10% events.
On week days, I'm in my studio somewhere between 9am to 5pm working on various projects and answering emails. Although I work from home, I like to get dressed as if I am going to my day job because it keeps me in that work mentality. I do my best to respond to emails or schedule meetings ONLY during my office hours and keep my work separate from my home. It's challenging to stop being in "work mode" when your office is just a few steps away but I try my best to clock out by 5pm so I can fully enjoy my down time. On most weekends, I'm either teaching a workshop or doing live painting for weddings, private events and parties. Event-related jobs are probably my favorite days because I get to work with other people, which brings me to my next point.
As an extrovert, it can really suck working by yourself sometimes. This is why I always make sure to schedule in meetings throughout the week so I can socialize with other people. I also love doing workshops and events on the weekends for that same reason! Another challenge I hear often from other freelancers is keeping yourself inspired and self-motivated. I definitely get cases of "artist blocks" and when I do, I just take a break from whatever project I'm working on and do something else. Since I have a puppy now, I take her on a walk around the neighborhood or work on another creative project just for myself. I also listen to podcasts like Girl Boss Radio, Elise Gets Crafty, TED Radio Hour and The Action Catalyst to keep my brain churning as I work.
And don't get me wrong, there are definitely perks of being your own boss. I can schedule my vacation time or go on a spontaneous trip — it's pretty sweet!
Money is such a taboo topic and it's very hush-hush in the freelance community but also incredible important! I'm so grateful for the people who were willing to share their their wisdom about dealing with money and it definitely helped me manage better.
As a freelancer, there is no consistent paycheck being directly deposited into your bank account so you have to be extra intentional about your spendings. I was never a big spender before, but I would carelessly shop here and there and that really added up each month! I realized that if I wanted to pursue this full-time, I had to get smarter about spending and saving. I just recently opened a separate bank account for my business and now only buy business-related items from that card and keep my personal spendings separate. I also try to keep all my receipts and organize them in a file folders so I have it all there for when it's time to file taxes. I'm definitely not perfect at this so I have a CPA who takes care of that.
Looking back, I made tons of errors and repeated mistakes but this has been the most reward year yet. I'm so grateful to other business owners who have aided me in this journey so far and I hope I can also help others in the process! As we are more open about sharing our own experiences, I hope that we can build a community that can support and encourage one another.
If you are a freelancer, feel free to send me your tips and tricks as well as self-motivation methods and stay in touch! — xo