Freelancing: Loving Your Work

How many people can say they truly love their job? I’m in the enviable position of being one of those very fortunate people that loves waking up every working day and getting stuck into various projects. This is especially so when I’m lucky enough to be working on such stimulating projects as I have been recently.

Of course, it is not all plain sailing, in fact, the 18 months prior to this last calendar year were the most difficult I’ve ever experienced, with relatively little work available and clients going bust and leaving me unpaid, freelancing can be treacherous. However, the last year has been a very successful one in terms of work output, variety and quality of work, gaining new clients and generally really enjoying my work. Some of the recent projects have been exceptionally invigorating and challenging, some of these I cannot publish for contractual reasons, but I have been and will continue to roll out recent work examples when the projects are completed.

How to love your work

(and keep your clients loving it too)

Achieving personal satisfaction with your own work is the goal here, but how do you go about getting that and then maintain it? Okay, for starters, three qualities you absolutely need to succeed as a freelancer are passion, ambition and a desire for continual self improvement, those are all fundamentals in my opinion. With those inherent qualities you are highly likely to both enjoy your work and succeed. But where’s the love?

In order to love your work, I believe you have to get the very best out of yourself, that means pushing yourself to the limits of what you can possibly achieve with every project you undertake. The aim of this is to get to the point where you impress yourself with what you have achieved, the moment where you can step back and look at your own creation and say “Wow! Well done me!”.

Okay, so how do you get the best out of yourself?

Easy… avoid complacency!

Yes, it really is that simple haha :)) In all fairness, I believe you do need to have an inner determination to keep pushing yourself forward in such a manner. It’s often easy when working on a project to reach a point of completion and say to yourself, “oh, that’ll do.”. Now, that’s the very point where you need to rewind a little. Actually, it’s best to unwind and take a break from the project for 20 minutes/half an hour.

Now, when you go back to your artwork, say to yourself “how can I improve this?”. Do a critique and see how you can refine it to perfection in your mind… then make those changes, add those details, create those flourishes, love what you are doing… and when you’re done, step back again and admire the fruits of your labour. Putting the love and pride into your work gives your creation that extra special glow, which in turn will give you greater confidence when presenting to your client. The result will undoubtedly be a much better response from your client than if you had presented the previous incarnation of your design. As we all know from experience, positive client responses are essential for both self-confidence and the holy grail we’re seeking… loving your work.

But don’t stop there… avoid complacency outside of your design work too.

  • Keep learning – are there many things that are more satisfying than learning a new skill and then absolutely nailing it?
  • Get connected and interact with the global design community – I find Twitter has helped enormously in my own continual development, it’s certainly a good place to start.
  • Keep drawing – yes, a sketchbook is an essential tool for any designer, if you carry one with you everywhere you can jot down your inspirations as and when they happen.
  • Keep snapping – the same applies to personal photography…
  • Maintain client relationships – once you’ve got a good relationship going, keep it!

Are you feeling the love yet??? :))