In 2016, I was laid off. Not based off performance, skills, personality, or work ethic. I was laid off because the agency was closing it’s doors due to its financial state. Thankfully, I was laid off and offered severance versus one day showing up to an office that had truly closed it’s doors to its clients and employees.
I never imagined that I’d be laid off; that I’d be 24 and unemployed. The obvious thing to do would be to get a new job at another agency in town. However, I had been working from home for years at this point and had just moved to Small Town Texas with my now husband. And let me just tell you, Small Town Texas is extremely limited in the agency department.
So I had three options — get a job at an agency in town where I’d likely have to stop working from home (which I love), switch careers entirely, or try to freelance full-time. With the encouragement and help from Patrick, I chose the latter.
Like any entrepreneur, freelancing full-time meant risk and hustle. It meant putting myself and my work out there, which means it also meant rejection (something my type 2 with a 3 wing enneagram self didn’t take lightly at first). However I knew in my heart I could do this. In fact, I felt like God called me to do this. Isn’t it crazy how in our lowest places, God meets us, takes us and leads us to where we’re meant to be?
As soon as I made the decision to be my own boss and freelance, I reached out to anyone and everyone I’ve ever met in the industry. Whether they worked for an agency or were a client, I let them know that I was available should they need design work. I did not let them know of my circumstances, just that I had some availability. That way I didn’t look desperate, just eager to help.
Luckily, my portfolio was already updated before I was laid off. However my resume needed to be revamped to match the look and feel of my portfolio. At this time, I also reached out to new references should I need to use them for potential clients.
Similar to the conversations I had with my previous connections, if the topic arose, I told anyone and everyone my capabilities to being able to help them or their business. It was never in a sales-y way just, “Oh you need a [logo, website, advertisement]? I can totally help you with that.”
It would be incredibly unrealistic if everyone I ever marketed to hired me. I mean it would be freakin’ awesome, but unrealistic. I have been rejected multiple times. That’s business. Someone will always come up under my estimate or be able to meet a rushed deadline sooner. However, I know my capabilities are worth my rates and if a client didn’t want to work with me that’s okay! (Some of them ended up coming back to me anyways ????).
One thing I was not prepared for was all the hats I wear as a freelancer. I am not only the designer, but I’m the project manager, accounts manager, IT department, book keeper… I am the agency. At first, it was overwhelming to say the least. However, after time wearing multiple hats has become second nature.
At first, freelance projects came in waves. There would be days when I was only working on one project, and then the next three nights I would have to work until 2am because I had a full plate. 9-5 was no longer an option for me if I really wanted to be successful (and that meant sometimes working weekends). It’s just part of it! Thankfully, three years later, I’m at the point in my freelancing career where the work is steady enough where I can control my schedule more.
Truthfully, I still can’t believe I went from being unemployed to being my own boss. In fact, since 2016 I’ve had enough work that I haven’t had To market myself let alone have time to update my portfolio!! I know that I wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for the support and encouragement from my husband or the provision and talent from God. God used one of my lowest times and turned it into one of my greatest achievements. Has he ever done something similar for you?
Do you want to be your own boss and have questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments below or shoot me an email! ????