“Those pixels are the pieces you will need to build your character as a designer...”

When you’re starting to set your goals, you want to have it perfect right? So does everybody else.

The first time I decided to resign from the company I’ve work for and go freelance I imagined that the road would be easy and that I could design whatever I wanted. Well, it hasn’t worked out completely as I originally planned. The freelancing path isn’t always smooth. Many times in my first year I had to make myself available and dedicate time 24/7 to projects. This sounds pretty similar to what Caleb Ogden describes in his article Learning to freelance.

It is always good to learn from other freelance designers who have had the experiences during their journey from the start to the top. From their experience you will be able to take advantage of what steps to follow as a starter or what to avoid when dealing with annoying clients. However, I often found it impossible to follow their footprints. It’s not because I don’t have what it takes. It’s simply because I want it to be how I want it to be. Isn’t it annoying sometimes, when you really set something on your mind only to find something that interferes with your journey? Just like how clients would want to dominate their visions on your designs, which of course you think is the best solution for them.

Then again, we often do whatever it takes to get to our goal. Just like what I did. For some freelancers, which in this case applies to me too, the first year is a horrible year to set everything in order.

Whether it is to schedule my time better or looking for more clients to support my finance each month, it was all a challenge for me. A few times I got myself in the situation of trading work for “work” which I will never ever do again, and neither should you once you read Trade Work is Fools Gold. Other times I wish I had the power to say no to a client. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a new client. But when it comes to long term professional relationship, I’d prefer to have a nice client who respect my work and time. When it comes to being a freelancer, it is best to have quality clients than large quantities of client. They don’t have to be a well known companies, I have several start-ups which have been growing with me for over 2 years now and we have a great long term professional relationship.

If I were to put my freelancing experience into a single bitmap picture, I’d be looking back to see every small pixel of my every decisions and steps that helped me to achieve what I have today. From freelancing to a design company, just like how I want it to be.

Everything I’ve experienced during my first year of freelancing is what builds me as a person, a designer, and my design company today. Those pixels are the pieces you will need to build your character as a designer and the impression that clients will see of you; as someone they can trust to provide the needed solutions for their projects.