Inspiration

One magical idea

Everyone occasionally gets this magical idea. It sounds perfect, fantastic, and everything you ever wanted. At first, you might think it will be easy, piece of cake. However, it does not always turn out to be that way. That just happens to be the downfall of life sometimes, and it can be a real bummer.

This is my story about how I started freelancing.

Early 2011

I wanted to start freelancing and as I said, it was a magical idea. I was not exactly educated on the matter; I was used to designing invitations, fliers, brochures, etc. for friends and family. I figured it could not be that hard.

In my head, I had a list of the main things I needed to get done to start my freelance business.

1. Create a name

This was tough for me. I did not know whether I should use my name or go down a different route. I eventually settled on Cultivated Designs (and later I also decided to make the ‘s’ a ‘z’.)

2. Design a logo and brand the new business

Okay so I had my new brand name but I cannot even begin to give you a number of how many logos I designed; most of them I did not fully finish because it was not turning out how I wanted it to be. It came down to about 5/6 logos and I got some advice from friends and family on which one they liked best. Once that was done, I moved on to picking colors, which turned out to be a turquoise and brown. Originally, I think I chose a medium blue and light grey.

3. Find a free space I can create a website

While I had a great idea I was still in college and as usual, college kids are broke. I had to find somewhere I could create a free website. I resulted to using Webs. I don’t know what Webs is like today but I know I wasn’t completely satisfied and it was probably because I had to use free templates and I couldn’t completely customize the website as I would have liked to.

Now, those three points seem important right? Of course, because you are creating your business and creating a name for yourself. After those three steps I did not really know what else to do. I went ahead and made a Facebook Page, typically invited all of my friends and kept it up to date as best as possible but I did not know how to get clients. I was not even sure what I would charge. I did a little bit of research and decided between $30-$40 (I don’t exactly remember). I also found out it was best to create a contract and after looking at multiple freelancers contracts I was able to get a general basis for mine.

I felt confident with my business except the cliental part. I somehow found out you can put your information into the Yellow Pages for free. Perfect I thought! I did that and about a week or two later I received my first call. I was nervous of course but I think I handled myself well. I got down the information of the client, and after our phone call I followed up with an email including the contract with an estimated time of how long it would take me to complete their request. I waited a couple of days however and did not hear back. I followed up with a call and then another email but I still did not get a response.

My first client came and went. The experience was a little bit of a downer but I pick myself up and realized there will always be other clients.

While looking for clients I came across Freelancer and I signed up right away. I made a few bids and was excited about this. I realized even if my bid was not accepted I was still expanding my portfolio at least and that is always important.

Unfortunately I never received another call. Between school and my part time jobs I could not dedicate any time to freelancing or to promoting my business. Up until a few months ago I actually still had the website and the Facebook page. I do not even know if my information is still in the Yellow Pages but I should probably check that out.

Two Years Later

I graduated college in May with my Bachelors in Digital Media & Animation. While looking for a full time job, I have gone back to contemplating freelancing once again. This time around, I am more educated; at least I believe I am. I’ve done lots of research, read many freelancers blogs and even gotten in contact with some freelance graphic designers and ask them questions about their business and how they started.

I was told I should start out doing only part time freelance, which makes sense as starting out slow is never a bad thing.

I hope you that guys enjoyed my story/background and can learn something from my past experiences, it has been a while since I thought back to that time and the steps taken to where I have got to today… it seems like forever ago.

What is your story? Is it similar to mine or maybe very different? Feel free to share it in the comments on this post. I would love to hear it.

P.S It would be great to meet you on Twitter. Follow me @lilacampiz

  • Scott O’Hara

    Great story Lila. Congratulations on finishing school and good luck with your career!

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