How to build a stellar portfolio to land your very first freelance gig

laptop

Deciding to jump into freelancing is an awesome, scary, exciting rush of emotions. Unless you have money set aside, you’re probably still working your “regular” job until things really take off, but you’re ready… …all except for one thing: you don’t have any clients. (So your portfolio’s probably a bit thin, too.) How do you present a professional portfolio with only personal and student work (and if you’re lucky, one or two pieces from your current job)? How do you

You’re an expert to someone

expert-to-someone

Last week, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of students at my Alma mater and I had a complete blast. My presentation was titled something like “Skipping 3-5 years: how starting a blog in college helped my skip entry level and land the job of my dreams.” I spent weeks researching, developing thoughts and theories, and really pouring over what I was going to tell these students. I showed up on the day of the presentation, gave 2/3

Terrified to hire your first employee? 5 comforting words of advice.

scared

I remember my first time. Nerves. Confusion. Sheer palm-sweaty, nerve-racking, eye-twitching terror. All these manic thoughts running through my head. Constantly. Non stop. Every time I awoke in the morning. Every night when my head collapsed into my pillow at night. Constantly wondering. No, constantly worrying! Am I ready? How do I know I’m ready? Where do I start? How do I do it? How much should I pay? What if they suck? How much time is it going to take

What NOT to say when promoting your freelance business on social media

oops

Social Media is notorious for being a hotbed for overly honest confessions, offensive rants, and embarrassing photos you don’t want your employer seeing. To an extent, that’s expected for one’s personal page; it is yours to share what you want. However, when it comes to promoting a business, everything changes. Embarrassing photos become financially harmful, as do unpopular opinions or irrelevant speeches. Even the most innocuous sentiments can be hazardous, such as the case when LeBron James expressed frustration over

7 Signs you’re approaching business burnout & how to save yourself before it’s too late

signs your approaching business burnout

So the honeymoon phase is over with your design business huh? Me too. I’ve been running my own business for more than five years and a few months ago, this truth really began to hit me hard: A job where you work for yourself eventually becomes (gasp) a job. 1. You don’t feel creative anymore. One of the fastest ways to know you’re approaching business burnout is to take note of your creativity levels. Do you feel like you have

Struggling to find design clients? Here’s how I built my business from nothing

finding design clients

Let’s pretend the internet doesn’t exist. Given that you are reading this blog while online I appreciate such a concept may be pretty hard to get your head around but please, bear with me. Picture the scene. You’ve left your regular paid job. You know you can make a living as a freelance designer, if only you could find the right clients. You’ve set yourself up a new portfolio website. You’ve bought your own software. Your phone is on your

Back to the cubicle?! 6 Reasons to work in-house (at least part-time)

work in-house

A design manager recently told me that he has a hard time finding good freelancers who are willing to work in-house. This is at a very well-respected marketing communications firm in Portland, Maine – a town bursting with designers. Why is he having this problem? All jokes aside about freelance designers living in their pjs, it may be time for you to consider working in-house. Maybe you spent years in a corporate or agency setting with the goal of making

The real reason clients ask crazy, ridiculous things of you

annoying clients

I’m going to share with you a list of ridiculous demands my company has been asked of by clients recently. I’m sure you’ll nod along. You might even get a laugh or two…or a few tears, if you’ve been pushed close enough to the brink. But afterward, you might swear me your mortal enemy. Confused? Just hang in there and make sure you read this post to the end. It’s important. Have you experienced clients… Emailing at 3am expecting immediate