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Becoming A Successful Design Freelancer

Lesson 1 of 15

What Freelancing Is & Isn't


Becoming A Successful Design Freelancer

Lesson 1 of 15

What Freelancing Is & Isn't


Lesson Info

What Freelancing Is & Isn't

Hey, guys, Thank you so much for tuning in here on creativelive. I'm your host, Vanessa. VF Would that? And this is how to become a successful freelancer with Arianna Orlin if you didn't already know a little bit about her. She is the mastermind behind Paper Jam Press. She's worked for companies such as Yahoo Instagram and J. P. Morgan Chase. Let's give her a big creativelive. Welcome on stage, Arianna. How are you doing? I'm super excited to have you here. Thank you. Me too. I'm excited to be here. So what are our students that are viewing as here today in studio and out at home? Going to walk away with the end of the day? Okay, so you have a lot to weigh. Dio, I was just like looking at my presentation and thinking Wow, this is a lot. So, um so what you're gonna walk away with today is definitely a better understanding of what freelance life was like and also, uh, lots of tips and tricks and tons of information about what to call yourself and how to price your work and hopefully the ...

confidence that you need Teoh to make a change in your life, if that's what you're after. That's right. I know we have a lot to cover. As I said, so didn't you get started? Okay, cool. Thank you. Okay. All right. So welcome to how to become a successful freelance designer. Um, we talked a little bit. About what? You know what? We're gonna go over in the class, but But first, I want to start out with just a little story. So this is actually the second time that I have worked for myself as a freelancer and the first time I did it for about six years on. And then I took a full time job somewhere, and I was there for about four years, and, um, I started freelancing again about a year ago. And, um, you know, even though I had done it before, I was so scared to do it the second time, I was like, you know, I had all this fear around, you know, Was I going to make enough money And how was I going to find work? And, you know, was it the right thing to do for me? And, um, you know, So I hope that, uh through what we talked about today. It's gonna address those concerns if those air similar for you guys on and I just want you to know, I totally get it. Like I get it. I did it once in the second time. Even doing it the second time was was a challenge for me. So, um, so I'm with you on this, Andi, I hope that the class really helps you, um, feel more confident. So, um, with that, what we're going to talk about today is what you need to know to get started. So we're going to talk about, um you know what, freelance life? It's like we're gonna talk about how much money you need to have in the bank. What, to charge for your work, Um, were then and segment to We're gonna talk about packaging yourself. So how to describe what you do, right? And make sure that's in alignment with what you want to be doing. Um, the in the third segment, we're going to talk about getting your first project and picking clients. So I feel like this is a revolutionary idea. You can pick your clients. You don't have to work for every client that comes your way. You get you have a say in this in this relationship on and then the last segment's gonna be how toe run Great project and keep your clients happy on. And we have lots of guests that are coming on. And so, um, so, you know, let's go for it. Eso part one getting started. So we're gonna talk about what freelance design isn't. Isn't the other skills you need to have your running a business. You're running a business whose services design and you are designer. But you have to have a lot of other skills that are going to address the business side of what you're doing, right? What to call yourself? I know this is a big source of anxiety. At least it was for me. You know, um, I decided, remind art director and my freelancer like, what's a consultant, right. We're going to talk about all of those things. In the last is the money. We're gonna look at an hourly rate as a model, and I think whether you decide to build by the hour or um or Bill by the project, that hourly rate is a baseline justice for Kate. Justification for what? You're going to charge for your work. And I want you guys toe to believe in that number. Um, so is freelance for you. Write freelance is not for everybody. Um, so let's look at what it is and what it isn't. Um, and the first thing I want to do before we get into the practical stuff is I want you guys to know that you're going to make mistakes and I make mistakes all the time. I make them every day. I should have, you know, gotten back to a client sooner. Or I should have broken up with a client earlier. Or I should have charged more money or, you know, all of those things. And that's totally okay. It's totally okay. That's how you learn. Um, on the other thing is, if you really want to make this happen, you're going to do it right. Part of, um, part of that is your gumption. And it's the fact that you're taking this class. It's the fact that you're here. It's the fact that you're seeking out this information, and you're gonna make it happen for yourself. Um, and I really believe that for all of you. Um, so All right. I was ready to activate their superpowers. Um, I love this. I wish I took this. I wish I paid to this on the ground, but I found it on the ground and and Yeah, I stood there. And then if also so So let's talk about what freelance design is, right? It is a potential path to financial freedom. Right? You're going to get to decide what you want to make. You can decide. I want to make twice as much money as I made you know last year, or I actually, you know, I'm in a life transition, and I want Teoh have, uh you know, uh, incremental money to whatever my salary is. I'm gonna moonlight, um, and you get to decide that for yourself. Um, and you're the boss of that decision, and that's pretty cool. Um, you get choice and variety in the stuff that you work on, and I think that this is Ah, this is actually, uh Well, there are a lot of really amazing things, but this is one of them. So I think if you're currently in a full time job, you may feel a little pigeonholed, right? Like that job is only drawing on a certain part of your skill set. And in the freelance world, you actually get to decide the kinds of projects that you want to pursue in the clients that you want to pursue and what you will and won't dio, right. So, you know, maybe there's a growth area for you. Maybe, You know, maybe you want to get more into app design, and you know, you're only doing web or interactive design. So you're going to start pursuing that and you're gonna invite that in when you're a full time employees somewhere, Oftentimes you're hired only to do a certain thing, and that can be really frustrating. Right? Um, you're gonna work across the breath of your skills, and that's what's implied by the choice and variety, right? Maybe in your full time job or what you're doing now, you're only focusing narrowly in on something, and you want to focus on whatever those complimentary skill sets are. Let's say you're you know you're doing Web designer out design or some kind of interactive design. And you want Teoh. You actually want Teoh learn a little bit more about coding. But the company that you're at has, like, people who do the coating. So you're you're never going to get practical experience doing that. Um, And when you work for yourself, the downside is there's no one else to do it. So you actually have to do it. But the upside is that you're learning your learning more. You're expanding your skill set. Right? Um, the next is reinvention, right? So, really, Then I love this. So I, um I let's see, I I felt really pigeonholed in, um, in a job many, many years ago that I was at, and I just I felt like the people that I was working with they wanted me to, like, do a certain thing for them and with them and as they advanced in their careers, were all kind of moving together. But I was always going to be the junior designer, the production artists, and they were always going to get to be the designers, and it it felt like not possible for me to all of a sudden have their job, right. I mean, I wanted to do what they were doing, but I was less um ah. Long in my career, and I didn't I didn't have the necessary skills, and they certainly weren't. We're gonna be like, OK, you know, let's switch. So, you know, freelance is really a chance for reinvention. For you, it's really a chance toe, maybe even fund a little bit, you know, fudge your skill set and service of getting those opportunities. Because I know that you're gonna be able to deliver on those opportunities. You guys aren't gonna let yourselves fail. Anybody who's in this class right now is not gonna let themselves fail. And they're here to challenge themselves and take on the things that, um, that they feel are missing from from how they're spending their time. So it's a really great opportunity to to take a left turn or advance in like a, uh, a big move instead of an incremental move. Um, the last is flexibility. So yes, it's true. You can work from anywhere, and you set your own hours. But most of us, you know, we have expenses and bills to pay and things that we need to take care of. So, you know, it's not like, um, just because the work hours air flexible. It doesn't mean that you're not gonna work, right. You're gonna work probably equally as hard, if not harder. But the flexibility is that if you need to go by president for your nephew in the middle of the day, you know you can go do that. You're not gonna get paid while you're doing that. Right. But you can. You can say I'm gonna take these two hours offer I'm going to do you know, whatever, whatever it is that you need to dio, um, and the other part of flexibility that I think is worth mentioning is the working from anywhere part. Um, and you really can't take your laptop with you. Um, And you know, a lot of the work that you're going to be doing is not designing. So especially when you're doing the administrative stuff, like emailing following a book. Clients invoicing. You know, you really can You can take that with you. You know, if you're an illustrator and you need your tablet and those kinds of things, obviously you're less portable, But that's only part of the time. Um, so let's see. Let's talk about what freelance design, Isn't it is not for the faint of heart. Um, you're gonna have a lot of doubt. I have doubt every day. I have doubt it's scary. It's scary to make a life change in a decision like this, and it's also scary. Teoh, immerse yourself in a landscape that has volatility, right? So you may have a job now that is OK, or you might even like it. But not a lot changes with it, you know, And with freelance, you are gonna have ups and downs in your income. You're gonna have ups and downs in the amount of free time that you have. You're gonna have ups and downs in three amount of work that you have. You know, you're gonna work like crazy, and then all of a sudden, you're not gonna have any projects on. And that's normal because these projects have a cycle that they're on and you're participating in that cycle. But then you're kind of, um um you have to be along for the ride of that of that experience. And it's not for introverts. So just because you work for yourself, um, doesn't mean that you should stay home all the time. You have to get out there. You have to hustle. You have to meet people. You have to put it out there. That that this is, Ah, life transition or a change that you're making. And you have to let people know about that cause they're not gonna find you at home in your pajamas. Trustee. And you probably wouldn't want that either, because that would be super embarrassing.

Class Description

You need more than technical skills to make it as freelance designer. You have to know how to land projects and keep jobs over the long haul. Becoming a Successful Freelancer with Arianna Orland is your guide to managing the logistics of freelance life.

Arianna is a freelancer doing business in the saturated market of San Francisco and knows exactly what it takes to get and keep clients. In this class, she’ll cover the tips, tools, and strategies you need to have in place to be successful as a freelancer. 

This class covers:

  • Branding: Guidelines for creating a design language that’s right for you
  • Collateral: A roundup everything you need – website, business card, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Clients: Building your client list and keeping them happy
  • Finances: Keeping up on taxes and budgeting
  • Management: How to stay on top of your projects and time

Freelancing gives you the flexibility you won’t find in a 9-5, but it comes with a whole range of responsibilities. Find out how to prepare for those in Becoming a Successful Freelancer with Arianna Orland.


Will Vu

I watched the free live and can't help myself by purchasing this class. It's a valuable lesson from a humble and humorous Arianna. I love your presentation very much. Wish u the best. Thanks or bringing us this course, CreativeLive. !

Cherice Pope

Arianna gives real advice on deciding if the freelance lifestyle is right for you by describing what it's like, business skills you will need to learn, doing a gut check with yourself, how to get clients and promote yourself, and discussing a variety of experiences with other designers. She also goes in depth on differences between working at a company versus working with a company as a business. Her information is clear and wonderful. I greatly appreciate the time and effort put into making this valuable course.


Thank you Arianna for an informative course. Its heartening to know that there are other designers like me that don't come out of design school :) Your guests were a wealth of information as well, specially Peter's bulleted list.