Life as a Freelancer

I’ve been fortunate enough to run my own business as a freelance Designer since 2013. Never in a million years did I think that this is what I would be doing, but I’m so glad that I am! I didn’t expect to be working for myself so quickly when I first moved to Toronto, but I instantly learned that being a freelancer is the new normal here. In just 3 short years I’ve been able to work for several talented Designers within the GTA.

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Photo by Thomas Zitnansky

I’ve created this list of my best tips on how to succeed, flourish as a small business owner and gain a slew of new clients!

  1. Create your business identity – I know it’s such a cliche thing to say, but understanding your identity before you venture off is crucial for your business. Who are you? What is your business? What do you stand for? What types of services can you provide? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself as a business owner. Once you’ve established your identity, make your presence known through the use of social media & networking to get your name out there.
  2. Charge what you’re worth – Freelancers either charge what they’re worth or they don’t. Most often, they don’t. When you’re first starting out, it’s difficult to gauge your worth. This knowledge comes with experience, talent and exposure. Once you establish yourself and are confident in your talent, re-evaluate your rates & charge accordingly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with increasing your rates every year or so, as long as you have the talent & knowledge to back it up.
  3. The Power of ‘No’ – If you are far too busy for another client at the moment, it is completely ok to tell people ‘No’. This was very hard for me to do the first couple of years. Naturally, I’m a people-pleaser. And when your name is on the line, you don’t want to disappoint your clients. However, it’s not healthy to burn yourself out. So if you have too much on your plate, take a step back and prioritize your clients & take on the jobs you feel best reflect you and your brand.
  4. Social Media Social Media Social Media! – Using social media can connect you to potential clients and partners within your community. I cannot tell you the amount of Designers who have personally messaged me on Instagram looking for assistance with miscellaneous design work. Post photos of your work, use tons of hashtags and tag your clients. Businesses, especially Interior Designers use social media every day to showcase their work, so use all platforms to get your name out there!
  5. Plan your days ahead – I spend my Monday mornings planning for the week ahead. I check all emails from the weekend, look at projects that require immediate attention and schedule any meetings throughout the week. Carving that time out every week keeps me sane, and allows me to take control of my schedule. While planning, I make sure I balance my time evenly between all of my clients so everyone is happy.