Today is day one of the next step in my career – running my own full time graphic design freelance company. So how did I get here? What was that moment that made me think, “I am ready for this challenge. I can definitely do this.”
Will you call me crazy if I say I never really had that moment? At least not in the sense that there was this beautiful sense of clarity and the skies opened and it all made sense to me.
So back to the question, what made me think I can do this? After leaving my last job, the thought crossed my mind that I could apply for another design job. But I never seriously entertained that idea. These are the reasons I let myself take the plunge, why I believed I am ready for this risk.
1) Working at a small company prepared me to know how to tackle the “necessary” tasks of running a small business.
I was lucky enough to start this process by watching a company jump through all the hoops you have to in order to legitimately run a business. Invoicing systems, client management systems, tax ID numbers, and income taxes were in no way foreign concepts to me. While I have discovered that I may have had some delusions of grandeur or false confidence based on what I have already learned, I was launched into the process with just enough confidence to know how to begin Good Day Design Co. without missing any of the huge necessary steps.
2) Being the only graphic designer at a creative company prepared me to handle client interaction from start to finish.
Being the only designer on staff of a company that didn’t primarily offer my expertise, I had A LOT of responsibility within my department at the company. From networking, to onboarding clients, to handling all communication, to creating the actual designs, I handled the design department largely on my own. I am so grateful for that experience, feeling now that working with clients for Good Day Design Co. that I can continue this process without missing a beat.
3) I am fortunate to be connected to a lot of business owners in my community.
At my previous job, I was also encouraged to do a lot of networking in town. Fortunately, I love meeting new people! Over the past several years, I have felt very, VERY lucky to have developed this circle of acquaintances, friends, and clients who also happen to be business owners who I have been able to turn to for advice and have been learning from for years already.
4) The of positions I have held up to this point have groomed me to “be my own boss.”
At several previous jobs I’ve had, I was able to set my own hours, often working from home, between other jobs. I found that I loved setting the hours I would work, loved the freedom, and often felt I created better work when I could choose the time I would work on it. As I mentioned above, I have since learned about the rest of the process of what freelancing could look like.
5) I love being hands-on thoughout the entire process with my clients to give them the best
product I can.
Whenever I have considered working at an agency, the thing that I knew I would miss is the client interaction. The initial meeting I have with clients to learn about their vision, the history of their business, their goals, and hear their stories as people is one of my favorite parts of the process. I find it invaluable to learn those pieces of information first hand, in order to develop a brand that will reflect you. Anytime I have thought about that missing that step of the process and it instead going to an account manager, I find myself knowing I will miss it.
So at the end of the first day? I am feeling equal parts excited, ambitious, and eager to learn to better my skills as a designer! Here’s to day 1 of many, many more to come!