I guess most of you guys here at emptees have had thoughts of quitting your full-time job and going freelance full-time. I am definitely one of those here. The thoughts of leaving a job with a stable monthly income may be a bit scary at first. But at the same time, you have more time to focus on your personal work, you get more control of the direction from the artworks you do, flexible hours, etc.

I know a few veterans here who've went the same path and it worked really well for them (AJ, Steven Bonner, Olly, The Black Axe, etc.).

Here are a few questions I've been pondering for the past weeks and any answers and advices I get (and rest of emptees too) will find it really helpful.

Stable Income
How do you keep the jobs coming? Is it a one off job or the client will come back for more designs each month?

Agents
Are agents necessary? How do you go and find a suitable one or do they come to you instead?

Emptees
Do emptees play a big part of your freelance career? I'm thinking most of the people I mentioned before only use emptees as a showcase instead of a come hire me site.

Self-Promotion
How do you all promote yourself? Do you use the same promotion technique in getting local and oversea clients?

I'll add more as well go along.

Thanks!

Useful Links & Resources
Freelance Switch http://freelanceswitch.com/
  • nugget

    at the time being i wouldn't recommend leaving a stable job, sense your not always sure of customers and their is always those who charge cheaper, for artwork. thus said some people always come back for more artwork if they got good feed back/sales. so basically their is no steady income for freelance . sometimes you will have great months and others not so great. its a risk. thats the way i see it
  • MetalHand

    Some useful info here:
    http://freelanceswitch.com/
  • herman

    Jon Kruse said: I think the best thing you can do is have multiple streams of income. No matter what happens you can have something else to fall back on.

    AS far as how to get jobs I think the best thing you could do is have a good client relationship where they will recommend others to you. Also make your work visible on the web where potential clients will see.

    Thats what I thought as well when I first took my full-time job 2 years ago. But as the time goes by, I feel my full-time job has taken a toll on me in terms of energy and creativity, where I can't really focus on my personal works. Luckily, I still have enough freelance jobs on the side, but I feel I can maximize my works if I was given more personal time.

    MetalHand said: Some useful info here:
    http://freelanceswitch.com/

    awesome.

    added to the thread.
  • wotto

    Last year I would have said go for it.

    This year, if you have something stable hold on to it.

    For these reasons.

    1. The economy is not recovering and clients are taking less risks with artwork choices, sticking to what they know. Ultimately meaning less freelance work.

    2. The industry is swamped in all areas. Too many illustrators and Tee designers which means undercutting, lowballing and unprofessional practises. It isn't just the Indos low balling it is fellow illustrators, I know this for sure. I have experienced it first hand.

    3. I believe clients want a designer that is an illustrator, photographer, typographer, seemstress, coffee maker etc. This means instead of lots of creative individuals we have one person stretched across all areas creating bland results. This has been going on for anumber of years now. Most big companies have an in house designer who tries to do all aspects of design. Hence the high level of rips.

    Not to be a party pooper but I'd hold off another 6months if you have a solid job.
  • atomicchild

    wotto said: Last year I would have said go for it.

    This year, if you have something stable hold on to it.

    For these reasons.

    1. The economy is not recovering and clients are taking less risks with artwork choices, sticking to what they know. Ultimately meaning less freelance work.

    2. The industry is swamped in all areas. Too many illustrators and Tee designers which means undercutting, lowballing and unprofessional practises. It isn't just the Indos low balling it is fellow illustrators, I know this for sure. I have experienced it first hand.

    3. I believe clients want a designer that is an illustrator, photographer, typographer, seemstress, coffee maker etc. This means instead of lots of creative individuals we have one person stretched across all areas creating bland results. This has been going on for anumber of years now. Most big companies have an in house designer who tries to do all aspects of design. Hence the high level of rips.

    Not to be a party pooper but I'd hold off another 6months if you have a solid job.

    this is true...but in all cases the more time you spend on art and making contacts the better....I will tell you my story. I quite my job that I had for 13 years this means good pay, 401k, 4 weeks paid vacation, benefits the whole thing. I had this job before during and after college but knew that if I stayed in that job I would pretty much be giving up on anything I ever wanted to do. Make solid contacts if possible before you quit your regular job. I made a few good contacts and quit sure I make alot less than I did at my old job but I live a life in which I do what I want to me that is worth more than any pay. I quit my old job in November 2009 and trust me that was not a good time to give up a paycheck plus I was moving at the same time from Cali back to Colorado so lots of stress.All I am saying is do it go for it and if your doing this full time and giving it your all there is no way the lowballers who do it when they come home form work will ever really make any difference on the money you make.
  • justinryan

    i say go for it IF

    - you have a little bit of money saved up (i'd say at least 3 months worth of your monthly expenses.. rent, utilities, food, car payment, etc).
    - you have a jumping off point (do you have an initial set of clients that you can start working with and get referrals from?)

    when i started full time freelancing, i didn't really have any worries. but now, several years later, i'm living on my own with my wife, my son and myself to support. it is an awesome sense of accomplishment to be working for yourself and still make a nice living.

    that being said, it can also be terrifying, because sometimes you can go a week or two without any checks coming in and you can start to feel like you aren't going to be able to get the bills paid. luckily i haven't really had any of those moments in years.

    best of luck! i hope that it ends up being a really positive experience for you.
  • wotto

    "the lowballers who do it when they come home form work will ever really make any difference on the money you make."

    Sorry AC but that WAS the case a while back but not right now. Even the full timers are lowballin'. I am not naming names cos that's not my style but I get low balled regularly by other emptees members. Clients are loose lipped and I often hear who has under cut me and by how much.

    It's to do with pressure and greed. Instead of all designers sticking true to a minimum price they go for a lower price to guarentee the job. It never used to be this bad but less work means more cut throating.

    And lets face facts who's going to pay $250 - $500 for a design when they can get one for $150?

    It is sad but very true.
  • atomicchild

    wotto said: "the lowballers who do it when they come home form work will ever really make any difference on the money you make."

    Sorry AC but that WAS the case a while back but not right now. Even the full timers are lowballin'. I am not naming names cos that's not my style but I get low balled regularly by other emptees members. Clients are loose lipped and I often hear who has under cut me and by how much.

    It's to do with pressure and greed. Instead of all designers sticking true to a minimum price they go for a lower price to guarentee the job. It never used to be this bad but less work means more cut throating.

    And lets face facts who's going to pay $250 - $500 for a design when they can get one for $150?

    It is sad but very true.

    yeah for sure man...I have been getting emails from bands naming people on here who work for 100 and less so I know what you mean
  • Andrew Haines

    atomicchild said:
    wotto said: "the lowballers who do it when they come home form work will ever really make any difference on the money you make."

    Sorry AC but that WAS the case a while back but not right now. Even the full timers are lowballin'. I am not naming names cos that's not my style but I get low balled regularly by other emptees members. Clients are loose lipped and I often hear who has under cut me and by how much.

    It's to do with pressure and greed. Instead of all designers sticking true to a minimum price they go for a lower price to guarentee the job. It never used to be this bad but less work means more cut throating.

    And lets face facts who's going to pay $250 - $500 for a design when they can get one for $150?

    It is sad but very true.

    yeah for sure man...I have been getting emails from bands naming people on here who work for 100 and less so I know what you mean

    Fuck. That.

    I'm not lucky enough to do it full time, but I think that if you do, go with what justinryan said and make sure you have some months worth of money saved up first
  • Josh Elowsky

    Randomly came across this just now
  • herman

  • Geoff May

    wotto said: Last year I would have said go for it.

    This year, if you have something stable hold on to it.

    For these reasons.

    1. The economy is not recovering and clients are taking less risks with artwork choices, sticking to what they know. Ultimately meaning less freelance work.

    I disagree. It makes MORE sense to a company's bottom line to go freelance. You can pay a flat rate and not have to pay into 401(k), medical, dental, vision, etc... It's a more fiscally sound decision, for sure.
  • Geoff May

    I say go for it, if you've got a clientele and jobs lined up right out of the gate. Getting started as a freelance designer can be rough at times. If you're good at it and stay on task, though, you can definitely carve out a living from it.

    Money isn't a driving force to me, but I'm making way more than I made at an ad agency. I work my own hours, pick and choose the clients that I'd like to work with and I don't even need to do any advertising or anything. I post tees on Emptees once in a while and over on Band Job once in a while. That's pretty much it. I do have a twitter account that I post to every couple of weeks with WIPs. My Facebook is just for personal use, so I don't even bother using it as a marketing tool.

    Basically, word of mouth is going to be your strongest ally. That and just getting jobs done so people can see them. After that, people will start hitting you up to do work for them. It's a rewarding feeling to not have to look for work. Of course that doesn't mean you can coast. On the contrary, you've gotta keep things rolling. Unlike your cozy 40 hour/week job, if you aren't working, you don't get paid.
  • justinryan

    gotta agree with geoff here. my freelance business has doubled in size in the past 6-12 months. i think as long as you stay hungry and push yourself, you will be fine.

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