Eleazar Ruiz
Eleazar Ruiz. Graphic Designer Based in Seattle, WA.
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Freelancing Saves the Day

 

Last fall, I was told that in two months I was going to lose my job. Along with my job, I'd also be losing financial security which left me in fear, confusion and disorientation. 

Thankfully I had two months to figure out what was next, send applications, research, plan, etc. After two months of interviews and applications I wasn't able to land anything promising. As my lay off date came closer,

 
I had to make a difficult yet exciting decision, to begin freelancing full-time. Yeah... scary.
 

Even though I've been freelancing on the side for the last 6 years, going full-time added a whole new level of stress and insecurity. Because of my previous freelance experience most things were already in place: bank account, business license, budgets, management tools, processes, design tools, you get the point... That was not the stressful part: self-confidence was.

After a good amount of hustling, great connections, and previous work history I was blown away by how successful I was in satisfying all of my wife and I's financial needs. Success at the time looked like almost matching my previous salary, making my own schedule, exercising, starting good eating habits, and landing great clients with great pay.

Since my launch as a full-time freelancer I've had the honor to work with great brands like Microsoft, Xbox, WildTangent Games, among others. 

In this post I want to share what steps I took to launch myself into the freelancing world and become successful at it.

Step One: Let Everyone Know Shop is Open

To let everyone know I was open for business, I relaunched my portfolio site, made a new logo, selected my best work, shared my process, and shared it with everyone on social media.

 
 
New is exciting, it causes people to be curious.

Launching/relaunching yourself will increase people's interest about your work and what you are up to.

Some friends will share with their network that your shop is open, and at that point you are leveraging not only your network of friends but your friend's network of friends.

Step Two: Send Your Resume to Staffing Agencies

Many people have different experiences with staffing agencies. Mine was not ideal but it definitely paid the bills.

For 3 of the 6 months I freelanced full-time, I was contracted by different companies in the Seattle area. It was great experience and allowed me to learn from different industries and most importantly allowed me develop connections.

 
 

One of the downs is that you usually get paid less than you would if you worked solo. The agency needs to get paid too and they do so by charging an hourly fee to their client on top of your hourly pay.

Step Three: Make Connections with Design Firms in Town

This one has been the most beneficial to me. One of the reasons of working as a contractor for a firm is that it allows you to work with big brands. In addition, they usually do all the heavy lifting when it comes to project management, customer service and interaction.

To connect with these firms send your resume and apply to be a part of the contractor list. If they want/need you they'll give you a buzz. They'll give you all the details you need to know to make a decision about whether you are interested or not.

Step Four: Touch Base with Previous Clients (if you have them)

When I went full-time some of my recent clients were pumped because they now could give me more work, and I of course, was not complaining. That made me realize that I should let all of my other clients know I was more than available to take on some more work. With that said, I recommend email blasting everyone: clients, your mom, grandma, awkward cousins, and cat.

I'm very grateful for all the things I've learned this year and I hope that my experience can be helpful to those of you who want to give freelancing a shot or are already in the groove and wanting to improve.


 
There are ups and downs about working with staffing agencies so choose your gigs wisely and price yourself fairly.