Biz Hero Angie from "Angie Makes"

Today I'm thrilled to share this guest post from my friend Angie at Angie Makes! She is currently doing my dream job of free-lance artist! The big questions, answers and advice of diving into freelance are right here...enjoy!

I don't know when I got the freelancing itch, but I got it big time. There's just something about long meetings, workplace drama, printer meltdowns, and a 9-5 desk job that stifle creativity. So there I found myself after graduating with a "sensible" degree in Public Relations, working ridiculous hours at my first nonprofit (emphasis on NON...profit). The epiphany moment happened whilst staring blankly at my pay stub. "Hey, I could be making this same amount of money if I just made 2-3 websites a month."

The seed of a brilliant idea had been planted. And so, I did what every person in pursuit of a brilliant idea/dream job does. Absolutely nothing.

The truth is, freelancing scared me silly... it meant no health insurance, safety net, or knowing what to say when people asked me what I did for a living. Besides, I didn't even have one of those artsy degrees... and what if I totally failed and everyone pointed their finger and laughed at me? Gulp. Not much had changed since the 8th grade.

Fast forward 2-3 years. I had, after many late nights, stalk-like blog following, and Wordpress tutorials, significantly improved my web design understanding. I was learning quickly but didn't have the time to devote to really diving into web design full-time. That's when I really realized that if this idea I'd had for the last two years was ever going to take shape, I needed more flexibility with my time. My letter of resignation finally and triumphantly came.

Having freelanced now for about half a year, I am, in many respects, still a newbie, but I thought someone might gain from a few nuggets of wisdom that I have learned along the way. Here goes.

1. Save 6 Months of Income- I read once before deciding to freelance full-time that you need to have 6 months of income saved up, as income will initially be unsteady. I thought 6 months income seemed a bit high. It's not actually. In fact, it's conservative!

2. Stop Being A Perfectionist- It took over 2 months to launch my Angie Makes website once completed. I went back and forth on design, logo, etc. and constantly was comparing myself to others. Don't. It's so killer. Launch your site, build your brand, share it with friends, then make subtle improvements over time. You are never going to feel like your site is 100% perfect before take-off. It won't be.

3. Network- One of the best things I have done since starting to freelance is to connect with other bloggers and designers. I offered a website design giveaway on my friend Brittany's, The Secondhand Magpie blog and she and I both saw a peak in our website traffic! Networking is always a win-win.

4. Read Actual Books- Jessica Hische, a design hero and fabulous hand-letterer, wrote that her greatest designs are not inspired by her peers, but through sifting through old letter and font specimens from retro books, Italian signage, and posters. Coder Dan Shipper says that the difference between being a good coder and a great coder lies in one simple variable: how much a person reads and really soaks in. Or as Julia Childs 
once quipped "Find something that you like and stay tremendously interested in it."

6. Do What Works For You- Get a System Down, whatever that is. If you're a photographer, figure out a way to quickly batch edit photos. If you're a designer, streamline that logo design process from sketch to completion. A painter? Find your groove! Don't be overwhelmed by the newest software, gadgets, trends, what all the cool kids are doing, etc. Find a process that works for you then own it.

7. Market Yourself as A Professional- I am such an advocate for professionalism and this starts by creating a brand identity. People will generally be inclined to trust a business that looks professional. Often their first impression of your business will be what they find via google. AKA your website. A great site, graphics, and logo are clutch. Get this right from the start and you will gain trust and business.

8. Don't be too spammy. No one likes "that guy" who does nothing but promote their Scentsy (or like-minded) business via Twitter, Facebook, etc. Be real. Tweet picts of your dog, jokes, and your day. Be yourself first.

Check out Angie's Website & Blog and follow her on Facebook & Pinterest! :)

happy friday!


awennerl said...

Hooray! Thanks Molly for the feature! Good stuff! :)

awennerl said...

Thanks Molly for the feature! Love your cute lil blog.