One Year on a Different Path

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One Year on a Different Path

It’s been one year since I stumbled onto a career path I had always wanted to take but had always found an excuse not to start down, and I couldn’t be happier.

Late one morning a year ago, I found myself with no employer for the first time in over two decades. I took the summer off to regroup and reflect and plan what I wanted to do next. I also had a great time hanging out with my toddler.

That lead me to a decision. I love design, but I wanted flexibility. I wanted to have options for the type of work I do. I wanted to be there to take my daughter to daycare or appointments without feeling guilty about taking time off. I wanted the flexibility of when and where I could do great work. So I decided to follow a path many graphic designers take: freelance.

A few lessons I’ve learned in the past year: (Your results may vary.)

I’m good at what I do. Initially, there was the worry that I was let go because I, well… sucked at design. But shortly after I went public with my newfound unemployment, three former employers asked if I wanted to come back. I didn’t go back to being an employee, but they did become my first three clients!

I love the flexibility. The work still gets done, but if there’s an errand to run or an online workshop I’d like to learn from, I don’t have to worry about asking for permission or getting grief having a video running on a second monitor. I have to make sure I leave enough time to get that work done.

• New opportunities become available. I was able to go back to teaching, to share my knowledge and experience with upcoming designers. A highly rewarding experience I encourage any professional to do. Plus my clients and projects are far more wide ranging now than when I was an employee

• People (that includes myself) don’t respect my time. Some weeks it’s a challenge to set aside enough time to put in the time I want as I’m pulled away by phone calls, chores, appointments, and a myriad of other things that need to get done. But I’m learning to set boundaries.

• I am so much happier and fulfilled. (and people are noticing) I have moderate anxiety issues and a low-grade depression and since going on my own, people have noticed I’m more upbeat, more creative, and generally in a better state of mind. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a cure, but I’m certainly in a better place. 

It’s been an amazing journey so far. I’m still building and learning to get to where I want to be professionally, creatively, and financially, but I’m on my way. If you’re looking to invest in your business and need some graphic design services, feel free to contact me to start a conversation to see if we’d be a good fit to work together!