Freelancing: A Great Idea
Until we fail. It’s fine.
I spent the summer silently watching the world destroy itself and the lives of others in a series of natural and political disasters that today still seem unending. It was shameful mostly, but during a financially debilitating summer losing over half of my income streams at once (two of which I became an LLC for), it was hard to even keep up with the rate in which tragedies occur. I found myself unable to process what to do when I had little money to give since so little was coming in, while the majority of time was spent looking for jobs and writing proposals whenever I didn’t bury my problems in the bed sheets of different cities.
These are the times in which freelancing feels like one of the more stupid ideas a person could have, or one of the most privileged. There are tests along the way that take shape and help define which class one falls into: a car accident, a chipped tooth, a potential root canal, a pregnancy scare, a UTI, a simple donation, a trump presidency, etc. all within a short period of time without even getting to the idea of saving money again, or being a better citizen. I’ve quickly journaled about the rollercoaster, but was unable to bring myself do so when planned client projects dropped one after the other for traditional reasons I could foresee, but at rates and quantities in which I couldn’t. These hits were pushed in further by occasional rejections from companies, if they were generous enough to reply, leaving the only reasonable reaction to laugh-cry for a minute or however long it fucking took to brush it off again. I waited until I could put my finger on something and keep it there for an extended period of time to know it wasn’t declining, and did in fact have some source of financial respite before I could process and turn those experiences into words and actions that would mark a shift in the way I operate. Those actions would essentially alter the kind of projects I take on and how to even get them, the rates I charge, the clients I work with, and the work I produce while getting back to a consistent income.
This is by no means a white flag, just a series of events that requires a learning period and a new level of fear, angst, flexibility, and hunger as a result that I don't want to forget. Graphic design is very much a job to me, which is an important perspective to keep, and a job I do still love when it lets me in and pays me properly. The only option is to adjust and push through, as I continue working with the clients I do have (+creating room for more), making the most of challenges that come my way, and taking what I’m able to grasp on to that’s of interest, relevant, and ethically sound. It’s no easy feat working for oneself trying to stay focused on making a living and producing quality work, especially when there are so many forces against us, but I’m hoping to do so quickly.
It’s embarrassing, but I might write occasionally about the process of building back up to a consistent income again, assuming I will get there. The words may suck and the journey won’t be the smoothest, but I’m trying to be honest with myself and about the realities of freelancing—this will help hold me to it, if I don’t delete this.