Today is the first anniversary of my work as an independent contractor. I'm so appreciative for the clients I've worked with this past year who enabled me to make my graphic design work more than a side hustle this year and I've learned so many lessons in the past 365 days.
I've learned loads more than I can put in words or should probably share....
Saying yes to work, saying no to everything else. I read an article on Girlboss that basically said 'You'll have to skip going out to cocktails with your girlfriends, but it will be easy for you to skip these type of engagements because you'll be so gratified with the work you're doing.' Wrong. It actually never gets easier to say no to happy hours and dates - no matter how gratifying work is, it never gets easier to pass up a social call.
Making time for growth. I think my biggest asset to my clients this past year has been my lack of experience. I have had a really hard time investing in reading and growing my skills while juggling all of the administrative and creative responsibilities of running a new business. While being "green" has had the benefit of generating fresh and unusual ideas, I don't want to stop growing. I want to make time to develop new skills, attend trainings, and never become comfortable.
Asking for help. Seek council from small business consultants and mentors. A small business consultant top meeting clients at coffee shops - it isn't professional or private enough. That's a bit of advice given to me at a meeting with a small business consultant earlier this year, precisely two days before I had the most uncomfortable coffee shop meeting of my life. I invite a select few clients over to my house for meetings, but I generally to meet with clients and potential clients at my office space in Albuquerque, or at the client's office or studio. Point is, I've learned so much from other young creative professionals.
What now? I'm looking forward to working with several new clients this coming year and working with my current clients on e-commerce, app design, and private label products. I just signed a contract with a local ad agency so I'm really excited to see what that will yield - it's a project unlike anything I've done before.